Biosecurity is YOUR Responsibility
Although it is important for every visitor to be aware that biosecurity protocols need to be carried out, it is your own responsibility to have a biosecurity plan for your farm.
Having your own biosecurity farm plan can potentially save your farm from significant economic loss and lend assurance to consumers that products are safe and wholesome, assisting to ensure consumer demand for product. Biosecurity also helps you keep your animals healthy and farm profitable.
What is biosecurity?
It is the series of management steps taken to prevent the introduction and spread of infectious agents, such as pests and diseases into a herd. Various protocols include screening and testing animals or plant materials coming onto your farm, a type of quarantine or isolation for newly purchases or returning animals, as well as a monitoring and evaluation system. In fact, animals can carry diseases and pests without even showing any signs.
A ‘Biosecurity Program’ for your farm will make this management task easier.
Examples of biosecurity measures that should be implemented on your farm:
- Restrict access to your property and livestock. Have a sign posted that does not allow anyone to enter your farm or come near your animals without permission.
- Only allow visitors near your animals if it is absolutely necessary. Discourage them from handling/touching your animals.
- Make sure visitors have clean footwear and clothes; keep disposable boots on your farm for them to wear and throw away. Also, have an area where visitors can change clothes and/or shower if needed. This is especially essential for vets, nutritionists and other consultants who travel from farm to farm regularly.
- Require and teach biosecurity to family, employees and all visitors coming into or involved with your farm.
- Family, employees and visitors should follow biosecurity procedures for cleanliness: wear clean clothes, scrub shoes/boots with disinfectants and wash hands thoroughly.
- Equipment and vehicles should be kept clean, as well as cleaned before entering your property.
- Create a protocol that controls birds and rodents on your farm, as they can also carry and spread disease.
- If you have shown your animals at a fair or exhibition, or are bringing in newly purchased animals, keep them separated from the rest of your herd for at least 30 days after the event.
- Do not share equipment, tools or other supplies with your neighbors or other livestock owners. If you do happen to share, make sure to clean and disinfect them before and after they are shared.
- Look for signs of infectious diseases and assess the health of your animals on a daily basis. The earlier a disease is detected, the less likely the disease will spread to other animals.
- Report any serious or unusual animal health problems to your vet, local extension office, or State or Federal animal health officials.
If you already have a biosecurity plan implanted on your farm, it is important to reevaluate and reassess your biosecurity strategy periodically. The biosecurity protocol you create should be shared with your nutritionist, veterinarian, employees, and others that will be spending time on your farm. Have a ‘Biosecurity Program’ form typed up for them, so they know how they can help prevent contamination on your farm. Strong communication between you and your team from day one will allow you to be successful and your farm to be profitable.
At Form-A-Feed we truly care about your farm’s success and want your business to be profitable. Work with your nutritionist to make sure he/she is aware of the protocols you want to be carried out on your farm, or let them help you implement a new biosecurity protocol strategy for your farm.
Article provided by Agri-Nutrition Consulting, LLC and written by Breinne Hendrickson