Biosecurity Safeguards For Visitors To Livestock Farms

Here are some tips to help manage pathogens brought in by farm visitors.

Published on: Dec 12, 2012

When visitors come onto to a livestock farm there are some protocols the producer can have in place to ensure they're less likely to bring in bacteria from the outside. It may seem the most sensible way to limit this problem would be to simply keep livestock isolated. However, the fact is there are visitors coming to a livestock farm all the time, from outside workers to suppliers and retailers, repairmen, veterinarians and many others.

Oftentimes biosecurity measures on livestock farms are requirements of contracting companies. But some livestock producers are independently managed and these don't necessarily have a program at hand to follow. It may also pay for contract producers to know more about biosecurity measures than just those practices that meet company minimums.

Biosecurity Safeguards For Visitors To Livestock Farms
Biosecurity Safeguards For Visitors To Livestock Farms

For these producers Clemson University Cooperative Extension and the university's Livestock-Poultry Health Programs have produced helpful information on livestock biosecurity topics. In addition to visitors to the farm, the information covers situations where new animals are introduced to a herd, and where animals can come in close contact with outside animals at livestock markets.

Here is a sampling of some of the information from the handout, covering minimal precautions to take when visitors come on the farm.

Biosecurity protocols for farm visits:

a. Maintain a clean vehicle. Park away from animal housing areas.
b. Keep a record of the farms, dates and time of day. This could be helpful if a disease outbreak occurs.
c. Wear clean clothing (or coveralls) on each farm visited.
d. Use rubber boots that do not have deep treads. Wash and disinfect boots before and after each farm visit. All organic material (manure) must be washed off of boots before disinfecting.
e. If the farm you visit has a foot bath, use it.
f. If you will carry books or papers, do not carry from farm to farm. Use small amounts of supplies for each farm.

For those who live in livestock producing areas of South Carolina the Clemson pamphlet is available in pdf format online.

 You should also be able to obtain it from your local Extension office. The pamphlet is printed by the S.C. Farm Bureau.