How you can reduce biosecurity risks in 4-H projects: Part 9

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

A picture of goats behind a fence. The words 4-H project biosecurity tip. Limit exposure to your animals.

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, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8, 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, focusing on practices 4-H’ers can implement at home to prevent the spread of disease.

Another final biosecurity tip, in addition to those previously outlined, is limiting exposure to your animals. There are many ways that you can limit exposure, including not allowing visitors to interact directly with your animals, not permitting visitors to enter your barn and/or not taking your animals off the farm.

Visitors to your farm, especially those coming from another farm, have the potential of carrying pathogens on their clothes, shoes and person. Through both direct and indirect contact, there is a risk of spreading pathogens from farm to farm by people visiting multiple locations. As a result, it is recommended that you do not allow visitors to walk into your barn if not absolutely necessary.

Additionally, transporting animals off the farm to other locations where animals from multiple locations may be co-mingled presents a risk for disease transmission. If it is not necessary, do not take your animals off the farm. If you choose to do so, make sure that you are following proper quarantine protocols and equipment sanitation upon return.

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