Small Update and Biosecurity Measures
Updated: Jul 29, 2022
The book is coming along. The end of September deadline is fast approaching. I’ve been busy networking and visiting farms. I took a small break to go to Ontario to visit family and my 93-year-old Grandmother that I haven’t seen in over 3 years. And came back to a heat wave which makes working seem even less doable. But I am plugging away. I visited three farms so far this week and plan to visit a few more later this week. One farm I toured Monday was run by a couple in their 80s. They were still working the farm fully on their own and breeding sheep. People amaze me. Farmers amaze me.
Anyways, I wanted to chat about biosecurity because it’s come up a few times and it’s interesting and important if you’re planning on visiting farms.
Biosecurity in agriculture refers to the preventative measures taken to protect the ecology of a farm. The goal is to avoid the spread of pathogens that cause diseases. Bacteria, viruses, parasites, protozoa, or agents such as toxins or chemicals can all be very harmful to a flock of animals or a crop of plants.
Biosecurity is something I was vaguely aware of going into this project but something I knew I had to learn more about. I didn’t want to be the one carrying pathogens from one farm to the next. So, before I started visiting farms, I got familiar with how these pathogens can be carried by me.
I found out these diseases and toxins can be picked up in a number of ways but the most common is on footwear, clothing, hands, and the tires of vehicles.
I was about to be visiting multiple farms a day, interacting with their animals, and walking right into barns and pastures full of manure. I knew I had to have a method.
So, with some research, I came up with these simple steps that I follow between farm visits that dramatically reduces the risk of spreading anything from farm to farm.
1. Hands- Before each farm visit, I make sure my hands are clean. I have a jug of water, soap, and hand sanitizer loaded in the vehicle for washing between farms. I avoid touching the ground with my hands and I touch the animals as little as possible unless the farmer gives the go-ahead.
2. Clothing-I bring a change of clothing for each farm. Which has been a fun feat, trying to find clever ways to change in my Xterra or on the side of back roads. The worn clothing goes into a tote in the back of the vehicle and when I am home all the clothing gets a hot wash.
3. Footwear- I also bring a clean pair of footwear for each farm. As well as driving shoes. This one is most important because my footwear definitely comes into contact with manure, the barn floors, and the pastures that the animals graze on. I have a tote for the worn footwear and when I get home they are washed in hot soapy water and given a bleach soak.
4. Vehicle- I never drive my vehicle into farm areas. I stay on designated driveways, near the road end or park on the road and walk in.
To manage my biosecurity methods I haven't visited more than four farms in a day.
I have been surprised by how few farmers have asked about my biosecurity measures. But I have had some ask and I am always happy to chat with them about my methods and their concerns. If you have any other tips of tricks please share them.
Until next time, stay clean!!