University of Vermont

Healthy Farms - Healthy Agriculture

Visitor Risk Levels sheep photo by Krista Cheney, link to home page

Visitor Biosecurity—
Visitor Risk Levels

Visiting school children generally pose the lowest level of risk to your operation. On the other hand, visitors who do not live or work on farms may encounter additional risks to their own health from Ringworm, Cryptosporidium, or Salmonella, to name a few. Milk truck drivers, sales and service personnel can be considered medium risk visitors because they travel between multiple farms, but rarely come in close contact with livestock or their manure. High-risk visitors include veterinarians and artificial inseminators, foot trimmers, fleece shearers, livestock dealers or haulers, and deadstock haulers. These visitors are classified as high-risk because they work directly with livestock on more than one farm. Different types of visitors require different access restrictions and requirements for hygiene while on your farm.

Low-Risk Visitors
Medium-Risk Visitors
High-Risk Visitors

Characteristics of low-risk visitors

  • Do not make regular farm visits or work on a farm.
  • Do not own their own livestock.
  • Do not have close contact with your livestock while visiting.
  • Examples of low-risk visitors include people from public tour groups, children on school field trips, etc.

To ensure biosecurity with low-risk visitors, follow these steps:

  • Contact them ahead of time (if possible) and request they wear clean boots and outerwear.
  • Provide disposable boot covers.
  • Limit their contact with livestock.
  • Make sure visitors note which areas are marked off-limits and that they avoid them.
  • Encourage visitors to wash their hands before eating and before leaving the farm.

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Characteristics of medium-risk visitors

  • Make regular farm visits.
  • Do not have close contact with your livestock.
  • May or may not own livestock.
  • Examples of medium-risk visitors include feed salespersons, mechanics, fuel delivery personnel, etc.

To ensure biosecurity with medium-risk visitors, follow these steps:

  • Make sure they sanitize their boots upon entry.
  • Provide disposable boot covers if footwear cannot be easily sanitized.
  • Limit their contact with livestock.
  • Make sure they do not enter areas marked off-limits.
  • Make sure they do not track manure into feed bunks.
  • Prevent visitor vehicles from driving across feed delivery lanes. If possible, vehicles should also not drive over manure or manure hauling routes.

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Characteristics of high-risk visitors

  • Make regular farm visits.
  • Have routine close contact with your livestock and that of others.
  • May or may not own their own livestock.
  • Examples of high-risk visitors include cattle dealers and haulers, veterinarians, inseminators, hoof trimmers, etc.

* Visitors who recently returned from traveling outside the US may also be high-risk and should be screened out at the entry point to the farm. (See Foreign Animal Disease Prevention)

To ensure biosecurity with high-risk visitors, follow these steps:

  • Make sure they are wearing clean footwear and clothing onto your farm and that they sanitize their boots upon arrival. Consider keeping a set of boots and coveralls on your farm for use by high-risk individuals.
  • Provide equipment from your own farm or require clean and sanitized equipment to be used. Provide your own halters and ropes.
  • Organize work from clean to dirty (e.g., visit feed storage before animals), young to old, healthy to sick.
  • Make certain that those in contact with livestock, manure, or other bodily fluids are wearing disposable gloves, coveralls, etc.
  • Don't assume that high-risk visitors will automatically follow biosecurity protocols. You are responsible for enforcing biosecurity and other protocols on your own farm. A plan that is clearly communicated and consistently enforced will be respected.

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Last modified October 06 2010 09:18 PM

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