In the summer, many of us look forward to county fairs, state fairs and many other livestock exhibitions. For many of us, this is a time to get off the farm and meet neighbors, friends and family. It is important to remember that the livestock we leave at home are actually the ones that pay our bills. It is critical that we don’t do something to endanger the health or well-being of these animals. With that being said, biosecurity needs to be considered when exhibiting or even going to livestock exhibitions. Biosecurity for these situations should begin before animals are loaded on the truck. This is critical to protect your farm as well as protecting all others in the swine industry. Do you practice good biosecurity on your farm 365 days a year?
Biosecurity begins on your farm with the following protocols:
- All trucks should be washed and disinfected before arriving at your farm.
- A clean / dirty line should be present at every door into a barn.
- Barn specific boots and coveralls should be available.
Preparations for exhibiting livestock should begin about a month prior to the exhibition.
- Does the exhibition require any testing?
- Supplies and equipment that you are taking to the show should be washed, disinfected and stored in a non-livestock area.
- Are your animals that are going to be exhibited healthy? For the good of the industry, it is critical that unhealthy animals are not taken to a show.
During the exhibition, the following things are important.
- Do not share supplies or equipment with other exhibitors.
- All clothes, shoes etc. worn at the exhibition should not be worn at home until they have been washed.
- The truck and trailer used to haul livestock needs to be washed and disinfected before backing up to your barn at home.
Following the exhibition, the following things are important.
- Any animals returning home need to be isolated from your animals at home
- All supplies and equipment should be washed and disinfected before going into any of your facilities at home.
Visitors with livestock should take the following precautions
- If possible, wear clothes and shoes that you would not normally wear into your barns at home. If you do wear the same clothes, they need to be washed prior to going into any barns at home. Shoes or boots need to be disinfected as soon as you arrive at home.
- After leaving the show and before going into any barns at home, a shower, followed by putting on clean clothes and shoes is highly recommended.
In summary, take the time to enjoy fairs, livestock shows, and exhibitions. It is a great way to spend time with your family, friends and neighbors. But, do your part in protecting the pork industry by practicing good biosecurity before, during and after your visits. Have a wonderful summer! In my opinion, it is the best time of year!