Interview of Dr Anne-Christine Lefort (ITAVI)

This month we host in our section “focus on a partner” Anne-Christine LEFORT.  She will explain us her interest for NetPoulSafe project and the key role of ITAVI as NetPoulSafe project coordinator.

Hello Anne-Christine, could you please explain us what your position is in ITAVI and how ITAVI came to the idea to build NetPoulSafe project ?

I am a poultry veterinarian, working in ITAVI on animal health subjects, like helminths, poultry red mite or vaccination and public helath subjects like salmonella. ITAVI is a French applied research and development Institute which serves professionals in the poultry, rabbits and aquaculture sectors.

Biosecurity is a major concern for the poultry professionals, especially considering the recent avian influenza outbreaks, and discussions with the french professionals highlighted that biosecurity practices were known, but not always well implemented in farms. In an other hand, experience shows that outbreaks like avian influenza should be handled not only at local level but also at national and international level, and no information about the way other poultry producing countries manage biosecurity and improve biosecurity compliance was available.

So the idea to build an european network to echange knowledge and practices about this subject came out. We built the consortium of partners and submitted the project in january 2020. It was accepted in June 2020 and started in September 2020. 

Can you explain your role in the project?

ITAVI is the NetPoulSafe Project leader, coordinating creation of the knowledge exchange platform, participation to data collection, testing in pilot farms and dissemination activities.

As project coordinator, we coordinate the action of different work package leaders, making sure that the project runs as planned, and ensuring a maximum positive impact for the farmers.  Thus I animate monthly board meetings together with Euroquality, who helped us to build the project and is still a partner in project management.

I am also the network facilitator for France, who coordinates the actions of the other french NetPoulSafe partners.

As WP4 leader, ITAVI is responsible for building the knowledge exchange reservoir for NetPoulSafe and coordinates the creation of dissemination material.

ITAVI is involved as well in the Netpoulsafe network creation, biosecurity data collection, pilot farm testing and dissemination activities.

Who are the members of your teams involved, and what is their role?

Several ITAVI engeneers are involved in some specific activities of the NetPoulSafe project : Nathalie Rousset helps me for the network facilitator role, coordinates the team for data collection, evaluation phase, and handles some budget matters. Amelie Chastagner and Marion Pertusa are working on the evaluation phase. Julie Puterflam (with the help of Antoine Battaglia, an apprentice engineer) was involved in data collection. Stéphanie Saint Leger, our administrative manager, is in charge of financial matters and Sylvain Gallot, our IT manager, is involved in the IT part of the knowledge reservoir.

You started to disseminate the first project results in France, can you please give more information ?

We took the opportunity of our big international fair « SPACE » in September 2022 to present the first results about biosecurity practices of the european farmers to the french veterinarians and advisers at the AVMA session. We also presented the data collected from farmers, advisers and operators to poultry professionals at the ITAVI technical days in November and December. These results allow to point out the biosecurity practices that are less implemented by the different poultry actors and give hints to work on to improve biosecurity compliance. The complete data, including supporting measures analysis, will be ready for dissemination in a few weeks.

What supportive measures to improve biosecurity compliance are you evaluating in french pilot farms ?

We are evaluating participative meetings, and individual coaching for direct selling farms. We are currently organising the first participative meetings. We keep hanging on recruiting farms despite the avian influenza outbreaks, that makes things quite difficult. 

What are next steps ?

The first step is to widely disseminate our first results to poultry actors in the different participating countries.

As soon as the results of the evaluation phase will be gathered and analysed,  they will be shared on knowledge platform and disseminated according to the communication and dissemination stragtegy already prepared in the different countries, towards farmers, advisers, and other poultry actors.

All the NetPoulSafe team will meet in Spain in March, to organise this process.

What else do you wish to add?

Managing a european project like NetPoulSafe is a great experience to share knowledge on biosecurity and to meet other European partners involved in the same topic.

Thanks a lot Anne-Christine !    


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