How you can reduce biosecurity risks in 4-H projects: Part 4

Biosecurity related to 4-H projects is a matter of high priority! Taking simple precautions will protect animals, members and consumers.

An image of a leader talking to a 4-H club. The words

Michigan State University Extension continues a series about national and state agencies identifying biosecurity related to animal agriculture as a high priority. The United States Department of Agriculture has a long-term goal of safeguarding the animal production industry from accidental outbreaks of animal disease. Disease control and surveillance and food system security are high priorities in ensuring that people and animals are protected.

As mentioned in part 1, 2 and 3, 4-H animal exhibitors can do their part to help safeguard the animal production industry by paying particular attention to their management, both on their own farms and during exhibition. This article will continue to provide an overview of current 4-H animal project trends, animal housing, animal pens, wash racks, judging areas and visitor interactions by exploring potential risks and how those risks can be reduced. This article will focus on youth biosecurity risk and disease prevention programs that can be implemented into club and county 4-H programs.

Previous articles have highlighted the numerous opportunities at shows, fairs and exhibitions for disease transmission risk associated with 4-H projects. The risks identified were cleanliness of stalls and equipment, availability and use of handwashing stations, and sanitation in wash rack and judging areas. The question is how do we teach youth how to assess and reduce risk, while building observation, problem-solving and decision-making skills? The answer; be intentional about biosecurity and disease prevention education with 4-H'ers.

Michigan 4-H has several grab-and-go lesson plans related to biosecurity and disease prevention within the Animal Science Anywhere curriculum. These include:

Utilizing curriculum about biosecurity and disease prevention will help deepen youths appreciation of their roles and responsibilities as animal caregivers and broaden their understanding of the connection between the animal agriculture industry and society.

Also look for the following articles in this series: 

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