I’m Darryl Moore and I’ve been in the production agriculture since 1980. I’ve spent most of my working career in broiler breeder operations and biosecurity was always a priority. For the past seven years I’ve worked with VAL-CO as a Territory Sales Manager collaborating with integrators like Smithfield Foods, Tyson Foods, and Butterball to provide equipment for farmers of turkeys, pigs, and chickens.
Biosecurity simply means securing or protecting the bio, or life, of something. In this case, protecting the life of livestock to help protect the farmers’ livelihood and the company’s investment. I remember visiting my brother years ago who had chickens and pigs; to reduce my exposure I would not go out and walk with him through his farm where he had animals and birds. I was actually “social distancing” then, just as we are doing now.
Important to protecting life is how we approach concerned areas and what we do to prevent exposure. Farmers know that “social distancing” works, but there is more that we can do to protect the health of our livestock. I will list examples of what to do and what not to do when visiting a farm to shield the farm from any harm.
First things first:
- Establish a safe area. Keep clean spaces and contaminated vectors on separate sides of a literal, or metaphoric, barrier.
- Keep clean items like protective cover separate from contaminated items.
- Minimize traffic around the farm. Have all vehicles follow the same path and move in the same direction. Move between houses in order, and limit back-tracking.
- Protect the most vulnerable by visiting youngest first, while you are the cleanest. If multiple ages must be seen, see the least vulnerable last.
- Upon arrival, put on protective hair nets, masks, gloves, and clothing before entering facilities.
- When leaving, take off the protective coverings and discard, preferably on site, or in a designated garbage receptacle not within your vehicle.
Things to avoid:
- Don’t disregard the possibility of contaminating a farm through carelessness like driving around a farm and between barns and not allowing a safe distance from facilities.
- Don’t take off protective items carelessly and hold them close to your person while rolling items into a big ball for trash. In this instance you have just contaminated your clothing. Instead, roll overalls, boots, or gloves inside out as you remove them and deposit them directly in a garbage receptacle.
Wash with soap and water any items that need to be disinfected. Spraying or splashing copious amounts of disinfectant on to contaminated items is not sufficient. The only proper way to clean and disinfect is to clean properly first with soap and water. Disinfect after cleaning. You cannot disinfect dirty surfaces since the disinfectant is neutralized too quickly.
Always take precautions when visiting a farm. Adhere to any biosecurity guidelines put in place by the farm. And develop a distinct biosecurity protocol for your own farm to protect the health of livestock as much as possible.
Territory Sales Manager
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