By Brian P. Watson Print this article Print

When mad cow disease threatened, the U.S. Department of Agriculture started giving workers tablet PCs to record inspection results, replacing paper and pen.

USDA Base Case Headquarters: Veterinary Services, Centers for Epidemiology and Animal Health, 2150 Centre Ave., Fort Collins, CO 80526
Phone: (970) 494-7200
Function: This division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture develops ways to combat health threats to the animal stock in the U.S.
Project Leader: Rich Baca, team leader for Veterinary Services' application information management
Challenge: Build a mobile data-collection system linking inspectors in 50 states to tracking and treatment databases.


  • Develop a disease-tracking system and database in 12 weeks.
  • Test more than 260,000 head of cattle over 12 to 18 months, more than 10 times the amount tested in the 2003 fiscal year.
  • Report results to facilities where samples were taken within 24 to 36 hours of testing, effective June 2004.

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    This article was originally published on 2006-04-06
    Associate Editor

    Brian joined Baseline in March 2006. In addition to previous stints at Inter@ctive Week and The Net Economy, he's written for The News-Press in Fort Myers, Fla., as well as The Sunday Tribune in Dublin, Ireland. Brian has a B.A. from Bucknell University and a master's degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

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