Biosecurity at the farm level refers to measures taken to prevent pests or diseases from entering your premises and to control outbreaks if they do occur. This is particularly important if you own or work with animals. Two basic Biosecurity measures for protecting livestock from diseases are 1) purchasing healthy stock and 2) preventing any exposure to disease organisms. Other preventive measures include proper nutrition, sanitation, and controlling animal and human traffic on and off the farm. If disease occurs, control measures include early detection and treatment.
It does not matter if you are a large-scale producer or a non-commercial livestock owner; you have the responsibility for keeping your animals healthy. Below are seven simple steps you can adopt on your property:
1. Regularly check animals for unusual disease symptoms and immediately report them to your local veterinarian or livestock professional.
2. Develop proper signage.
3. Keep farm vehicles and equipment clean.
4. Manage the movement of visitors on your property.
5. Limit the use of your machinery or equipment that is also used to travel to common livestock locations (e.g., feed store, stockyard).
6. Quarantine new animals and/or sick animals on the farm.
7. Do not allow your feed and water to become contaminated with manure or another animal waste.
James Hartsfield is an area extension agent specializing in farm management serving Sampson and Duplin counties.