Security for Animal Agriculture: A Checklist (E2957)


February 12, 2016 - Author: Dean Ross

Farm managers must take the primary responsibility for maintaining the health of their herds and flocks. A major strategy in providing for healthy animals is biosecurity of the farming operation. The goal of biosecurity is to halt the introduction and spread of disease causing agents.

This is accomplished by preventing or minimizing the cross-contamination of body fluids — including feces, urine, saliva and mucus — among animals. Cross-contamination may occur by animal to animal contact, animal to feed or water contact, or indirect animal to animal contact through equipment or other intermediary agents. The checklist below should serve as a guideline in establishing a biosecurity plan or evaluating an existing program.


  • Do you accept that it is management’s responsibility to provide for strategic biosecurity of the farming operation?
  • Do you believe that it is more cost-effective to prevent disease problems than to correct problems? Are you constantly vigilant for symptoms of animal disease?
  • Does each farm enterprise operate under sound product quality assurance guidelines?
  • Is an individual animal identification system maintained?
  • Are complete records of animal health management practices maintained?
  • Are strategic vaccination and parasite control programs conducted for all animals?
  • Do you regularly perform necropsies of dead animals to determine the cause of death?
  • Do you have a viable client-veterinarian relationship with a local practitioner?

Farm Visitors

  • Do you know who is on the farm at all times?
  • Are unauthorized persons and vehicles restricted from entering animal production areas?
  • Are signs posted to direct visitors to central headquarters and away from animal production and other restricted areas?
  • Do you use disinfectant footbaths or disposable plastic footwear for farm visitors with access to production areas?
  • Are visitors required to wear clean clothing or disposable outer coveralls?
  • Do you prohibit any visitors to the operation if they have been outside the continental United States during the past 2 weeks unless they can assure you that they have not been in close proximity to hoofed animals within the past 5 days?

Input Security

  • Is purchased feed obtained only from suppliers with effective quality assurance programs?
  • Are delivery vehicles and personnel restricted from entering animal production areas?
  • On cattle, sheep and goat operations, are precautions in place to ensure that no feed or supplements containin prohibited mammalian proteins such as meat and bonemeal are fed to or contaminate feed for cattle, sheep and goats?
  • Are invoices for purchased feed maintained for a minimum of 3 years?
  • Are crop residues used for animal feed tested for pesticide residues and excessive nitrate levels?
  • Are separate and secure feed storage areas maintained to prevent accidental or deliberate contamination by pesticides, petroleum fuels and lubricants, fertilizers, manure, pests, etc?

Animal Control Facilities and Equipment

  • Are facilities and fences maintained so that they contain your animals and prevent other animals from mixing with your animals?
  • Are you aware that a common fence with neighbors’ animals is a potential source of contamination?
  • Are feeding and water troughs managed to prevent manure contamination?
  • Are feeding and watering facilities and equipment routinely cleaned?
  • Is different equipment used to feed and handle manure or is the equipment cleaned completely after handling manure?
  • Is the access of birds, rodents, cats, dogs and stray animals to animal feed and water supplies minimized or restricted?
  • Are sick animals isolated in a hospital area to prevent contamination of healthy herds or flocks?

On-farm Sanitation

  • Is good aseptic technique used in vaccine handling and administration?
  • Is animal vaccination and surgery equipment effectively cleaned between uses?
  • Is animal health equipment stored in clean and dry areas?
  • Do you take precautions to avoid cross-contamination between sick or dead animals and healthy animals?
  • Are animal housing facilities routinely cleaned and disinfected?
  • Is a dead animal disposal plan in place that avoids exposure of healthy animals to the carcass or potential pathogens? Does it meet Michigan legal requirements?
  • Is all equipment used to handle dead animals thoroughly cleaned?
  • Is an effective fly, bird and rodent control program in place?

New Animal Additions

  • Are new animals maintained in a quarantine area for 21 to 30 days before mixing with other animals?
  • Is the quarantine area designed to prevent crosscontamination with other animals?
  • Are you aware of the health/vaccination history of purchased breeding animals added to the herd?
  • Are new animals transported in clean vehicles?
  • Do you borrow or use “loaner” bulls, rams, boars, etc.?
  • Are records of purchased animals maintained including source, arrival date, etc.?


Buhman, M., G. Dewell, and D. Griffin. Biosecurity Basics for Cattle Operations and Good Management Practices (GMP) for Controlling Infectious Diseases. Nebraska Cooperative Extension G00-1411-A. 2000. Kopperud, S. and K. Johnson. Vigilance is Key. Animal Industry Foundation. 2001


Tags: agriculture, farm management

Related Topic Areas

Agriculture, Farm Business Management

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