In the livestock industry, biosecurity is defined as a set of practices/steps that are taken for prevention from diseases and infectious agents that affect the health of animals in a flock or herd. Biosecurity plans involve a well-maintained check-up of animals and other farm practices to ensure the environment on a farm is healthy and safe for animals for breeding and production processes. It includes the evaluation and monitoring of animals and their feed in order to achieve early warning of any infection or disease.
Why is it important?
Having a biosecurity program for your farm is essential for several reasons. Firstly, because it is one of the most important aspects of farms’ food security programs. Ensuring that the quality of food is good and it is healthy to consume is necessary. This results in consumer trust-building and higher demands of products. This automatically benefits the business and profits are increased. Secondly, to keep the animals productive and healthy, biosecurity is a must-have. It saves animals from getting ill or infected by infectious diseases, assuring good health conditions. Lastly, a thriving agricultural industry is a country’s asset for its economic development and also in maintaining healthy and save the environment.
Who are key role players?
Veterinarian of the herd work side by side with farm owners to develop and implement the biosecurity plan. But every person who works, visits, or lives at the farm has a significant role to play in the plan. To main the biosecurity plan useful, it is important to follow the described set of practices and adopt them as a part of daily routine to bring a difference. Specific strategies are made to monitor the farm operations and animals’ performance in order to identify the risk factors and areas that need improvement to ensure the elimination of viruses and infections.
If there is a potential threat or risk, it should be studied and identified as low, medium, or high-level risk. This can help to make changes to the plan according to the severity of the situation. A successful and well-maintained biosecurity plan is essential for farm’s and businesses ‘ growth and for achieving consumer trust by providing them with high-quality products.
Periodic review of the plan should be ensured to maintain excellent and healthy farm practices. The plan should be updated every 12 months. Assessment of animals and the farm’s overall operations should be made to understand the weaknesses and strengths to make changes to the plan and improve farm practices according to the requirements.
If the growth of weed or signs of viruses and infections are found, cattle producers should find out the potential risk factor that caused them in the first place, and then they’re required to make changes to the plan according to it. Asking for health declarations, before buying animals, can be a plus.
Farm owners should assess the performance of their farm according to the steps involved in their biosecurity plan; if any updates are required, it is essential to make them as soon as possible.
All the operators of the farm must know about the changes after the updating of the biosecurity plan in order to ensure the successful implementation of all necessary changes.