University of Vermont

Healthy Farms - Healthy Agriculture

Visitor Biosecurity dairy cows photo by Krista Cheney, link to home page

Visitor Biosecurity

Whether coming to see a "real farm" in action or to conduct business on your farm, visitors come with the potential to introduce new diseases or spread existing infections to more animals. Different types of visitors pose different levels of risk. For some visitors, the diseases present on a farm may pose a risk to their own health.

Not only do different types of visitors pose different levels of risk, but also different areas of the farm or types of animals are more susceptible to the introduction of or potential transmission of infectious diseases. Most dairy farms do not go as far as prohibiting visitors or making them shower in and shower out, but all farms do need to evaluate the risks posed by various types of visitors and develop strategies to minimize threats to the health of their livestock.

Traffic patterns for visitors in vehicles and on foot must be considered when developing a biosecurity plan. General guidelines are provided in this section. Understanding which areas of the farm are at highest risk for disease introduction or transfer, as well as being able to identify the level of risk posed by various people coming onto the farm will help you develop an effective plan. Examples of farm signage and instructions for preventing foreign animal diseases are also included in this section.

The most critical component of all is vigilance in enforcing the plan. Protecting the health of your animals should be a priority for you and your employees. The ultimate responsibility for communicating and carrying out the biosecurity plan on a farm rests on the owner's shoulders.

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Last modified October 06 2010 08:14 PM

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