Down on the farm: Biosecurity principles

Some of the scariest epidemics we hear about in the news aren’t just human infections — oftentimes, animals are the ones impacted.

But as we know, sick animals lead to sick humans. That’s why biosecurity is so important. The goals of a successful biosecurity plan are to keep animals healthy and to prevent the spread of disease, ultimately stopping deadly pathogens in their tracks before they reach our food supply.

Depending on the animals raised there, different farms will have different needs in terms of biosecurity. At the recent Egg Industry Center Issues forum, Dr. Elena Behnke offered several best practices as related to poultry farming. Dr. Behnke is a veterinary coordinator for the National Poultry Improvement Plan at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

The 14 principles that Dr. Behnke outlines include not only actionable tips to modify farm facilities themselves, but also guidelines for establishing written procedures and training programs that will keep personnel in the loop. Some of what Dr. Behnke suggests includes having the farm audited by a state organization on a regular basis and designating a biosecurity coordinator to be accountable for developing, implementing, maintaining and monitoring a biosecurity program.

Other practices include establishing a buffer zone around the perimeter of poultry areas, creating barriers to keep out wild birds and rodents, safe mortality disposal and more.

Neogen’s educational biosecurity video

Neogen recently collaborated with AgCreate Solutions, Inc and Tosh Farms to create a video about biosecurity, especially as it relates to trucks and other transportation vehicles, which can carry pathogens from farm to farm.

(For cool photos from the video shoot, check out Neogen’s Facebook or Instagram account.)

One of the tips we suggest is to make sure all personnel are decked out in personal protection equipment (PPE). This includes gear such as coveralls, gloves, goggles, boots and earplugs. This will protect an individual from pathogens, and also prevent them from unwittingly spreading germs as they go about their day, as bacteria can might lurk on their clothes or body. Hand sanitizer can also help keep personnel from becoming bacteria taxis.

We also remind workers to never skimp out on a thorough cleaning of their vehicles. If any organic material is visible in or around the truck, then more cleaning is needed, especially around hard-to-reach areas like undercarriages, wheel wells, cracks and crevices. Disinfectants aren’t effective at deactivating pathogens if any surfaces are still dirty.

Neogen offers products that can play an essential role in any biosecurity program, including disinfectants, cleaners, personal protective equipment and more. Click here for more information.

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