University of Vermont

Healthy Farms - Healthy Agriculture

Farm Assessment and Biosecurity Planning dairy cow photo by Krista Cheney, link to home page

Farm Assessment and Biosecurity Planning

When developing guidelines, keep in mind the risks to your farm's biosecurity. Tailor management practices to address those risks, identifying the critical control points you should address. Start by asking the following questions about management practices on your farm:

  • Do we show any animals at fairs, shows, or exhibitions? Do we buy animals at these events?
  • Do we use bulls, rams, or bucks on our farm that we didn't raise ourselves?
  • Do heifers ever intermingle with heifers from another farm?
  • Do we buy replacement animals?
  • Do visiting vehicles cross the tracks of feed delivery or manure hauling equipment on our farm?
  • Do we have a designated area where haulers pick up cull animals and deadstock?
  • Do we host school tour groups or encounter non-agricultural visitors who want to look around?
  • Do any foreigners or people who have traveled outside of North America visit our farm?
  • Do veterinarians and other agri-service personnel arrive with clean boots and sanitize them before working with our animals?
  • Do we control flies and other insects, rodents, domestic animals, birds, and wildlife?

Use the Risk Assessment Questionnaire and Scorecard. Used in conjunction, these documents will help you identify which actions will protect your farm against the greatest risks. Discuss ideas with your veterinarian or extension specialists.

Incorporate these actions into a written plan. Involve your partners and employees in the process and communicate the reason for following each step of the plan.

Implement the plan. Post appropriate signs, secure entryways to facilities as needed, and enforce the plan consistently. Make sure your friends and neighbors understand why they, too, must follow the plan.

Reassess the plan annually. Your experience and new information may cause you to revise your plan. Reviewing your plan will help renew your commitment to biosecurity.

Last modified March 17 2011 10:24 PM

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