National dairy farm biosecurity standard launched

Biosecurity The standard is designed to help farmers cut and control the risk of disease entering their farms

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Canada’s food safety agency has formally introduced its biosecurity standard designed specifically for the Canadian dairy farm.

Launched Feb. 5, the voluntary biosecurity standard maps out dairy farmers’ control areas and target outcomes in the areas of animal health management, animal movement, premises management and conditions for workers, visitors, vehicles and equipment.

The standard, designed to help farmers cut and control the risk of disease entering their farms, spreading within the farm or to neighbouring farms, “will be a tool for all proactive farmers who want to bring animal health to a superior level,” Wally Smith, president of Dairy Farmers of Canada, said in the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s release.

Smith, who farms at Chemainus, B.C., added that the new standard “complements standards we already have for on-farm food safety in the Canadian Quality Milk program, and other efforts dairy farmers make to constantly improve their farm operations.”

The standard, developed over two years in a partnership between the DFC and CFIA with funding from the Growing Forward ag policy framework, “offers goals, objectives and measurable targets for all producers from small-scale to large-scale establishments,” CFIA said in its release.

The standard calls for a dairy farmer to have a herd health plan in place which “encourages resistance to diseases of concern” and includes practices to track animals’ health and respond to disease risks.

Strategies in the herd health plan include maintaining a client-veterinarian relationship; observing, recording and evaluating animals’ health status; recognizing disease susceptibility and maintaining separation where needed; monitoring and investigating animal illnesses and/or deaths; and managing the herd’s feed, water and bedding.

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