CHeRI - Cervidae Health Research Initiative

USDA Emergency Assistance Workshop Notes (Updated: 11/08/2018)

Click here for supplemental notes taken from the meeting during the Q & A sessions.

On November 6th, the USDA held an emergency assistance workshop in Chipley Florida. Click below to go to the program websites to get comprehensive information for applying for assistance:

Emergency Conservation Program

Emergency Forest Reforestation Program

Livestock Indemnity Program

Emergency Livestock Assistance Program

USDA Environmental Quality Incentives Program

Documenting Hurricane Damage

To those recovering from Hurricane Michael: Water is available for livestock and animals. Water is not for human consumption. To request water, please call the State Agricultural Response Team at 850-597-3913.


Dear Deer Farming Community:

Our prayers and thoughts go out to those of you who have been affected by the hurricane. We have seen firsthand some of the devastation that has occurred on your farms and we want to help. One of the best ways we can do that is to document the devastation to your farms so that Florida Department of Agriculture and the federal government (USDA FEMA) can provide financial relief to you. We want to document the damage on as many farms as possible so that the economic help that the government provides is reflective of the damage that has been done.

To that end, UF IFAS is acting as a central gathering point for this information. IFAS is doing this for all of the major livestock and crop commodity groups in the panhandle and I want to make sure deer farmers are represented among these groups. We need specific information about the type and breadth of the damage. In the coming days as communications are restored, I ask you to document the following information so that you can provide it to us.

Number of deer you have

Number of elk you have

Number of other exotic cervids and bovids that you have

Number of other domestic livestock

Number of each livestock type that were lost due to the disaster

Did you have damage to the fixed assets on the farm including homes, other farm buildings, irrigation systems, farm equipment, fences, conservation structures, food plots?

Quantify the loss (e.g. linear feet of fence lost, number of irrigation systems lost, number of structures destroyed)

Provide a narrative description of the loss

Provide 3 representative photos of the damage

In addition, we will need your name, county and contact information. This information will be provided to the state and federal government for assessment of economic assistance.

Please do not wait to provide this information. This process will move quickly with or without us.

I know that this information is not reflective of the medium and long-term losses that you face, but hopefully this is a first step towards rebuilding what has been lost. Please contact us via the email or phone below with your information. We will also be reaching out to those for whom we have contact information. Spread the word to those who we have not contacted, so that your industry is well represented.


Yours truly,

Samantha Wisely
CHeRI Director


Contact Us
Email: wiselylabuf@gmail.com
EHD Hotline Phone: 352-562-DEER


Introduction to CHeRI

Scientists at the University of Florida Cervidae Health Research Initiative, or CHeRI for short, are working together to tackle problems that affect cervids: members of the deer family like white-tailed deer and elk. This initiative seeks to promote interdisciplinary science, education and outreach that increase the health and production of captive cervids in a sustainable manner and promotes the health of native wildlife and the ecosystems in which they live.

Our stakeholders in the deer farm industry have identified hemorrhagic disease as the primary threat to economic success in Florida. Last year deer farmers lost >$32M due to a high prevalence of EHD. More information on hemorrhagic disease and the viruses that cause this disease in deer can be found on our Hemorrhagic Disease Diagnostics page. While reducing morbidity and mortality of captive deer from HD is our primary goal, we seek to maintain a diverse portfolio of projects to improve the health of cervids in Florida.

Fall newsletter!

The latest CHeRI newsletter has been sent out! Read about hemorrhagic disease updates for Florida, details on our "No-see-um" ID project (NISP), and more! If you want to receive the CHeRI newsletter, send an e-mail to wiselylabuf@gmail.com. You can find the new newsletter here: CHeRI Newsletter Vol. 3 Iss. 3 - Oct 2018 (pdf)

Update on HD activity this year

As you can see from the map, it has been an early and active season for bluetongue virus. This virus is closely related to epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus (EHDV) and is also transmitted by Culicoides midges or no-see-ums. While we are thrilled that an EHDV vaccine is on the horizon, this season reminds us that we have other impactful disease outbreaks in farmed deer. The good news is that the new vaccine techniques being used on EHDV will very likely work on BTV. As with the new EHDV vaccine, we need samples from your deer that have died from EHDV or BTV to ensure that the vaccines being made will be effective here in Florida. Our necropsy service helps you understand why your deer died and provides us with information to make better vaccines for Florida deer farmers.

No-see-um Identification Services Project (NISP)

CHeRI is pleased to announce the official launch of the No-see-um Identification Services Project, or "NISP" for short! These new midge assessment services will help CHeRI researchers gain an understanding of midge populations across Florida and allow you to learn what midges are on your farm, what they are feeing on, and if they are EHDV vectors. Hemorrhagic Disease (HD) is caused by bluetongue virus (BTV) and epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus (EHDV). It is transmitted by blood-feeding flies called biting midges or no-see-ums and can be an enormous source of mortality for farm-raised deer. This new service involves 5 easy steps: 1) CHeRI sends you traps, 2) You set up the traps 3) Send the samples back to CHeRI, 4) CHeRI scientists ID the midges, 5) CHeRI send you a report of the kinds midges on your farm and which are EHDV vectors. You can even request more collection tubes to see how the midge population fluctuates at different times of the year. Check out the CDC light trap setup video below to learn how to use the traps and visit our Diagnostics and Services page for more information.