Dr. Andrew Hennenfent

A new emergency management coordinator started work at the Iowa Department of Agriculture today.

The legislature set aside a quarter of a million dollars for the agency to prepare for an outbreak of a foreign animal disease, like African swine fever, foot and mouth disease or Avian influenza — the bird flu. A portion of that budget will pay the salary of Dr. Andrew Hennenfent, a public health veterinarian. He will review the state’s emergency response plans for animal diseases and organize drills for responding to an outbreak.

Hennenfent grew up on an Illinois farm and worked as a vet in Orland Hills, a community about 23 miles southwest of downtown Chicago. He recently served as the State Public Health Vet for the District of Columbia, though, and supervised the investigation of diseases that can be transmitted between animals and humans.