"In today's world, several areas of potential danger need specific attention."
This brief statement by Amanda Marney, agriculture preparedness specialist at the University of Missouri Southwest Research Center in Mount Vernon, cites our need for concern about problems that face our agricultural and food industries. "We definitely need to be aware of potential threats," Amanda said.
She added, "Once we realize there are potential threats of economic importance to our agriculture and food industries, we can see how that could cause havoc with the food supply chain and have far reaching effects on health, economics and consumer confidence.
Marney stressed, "It is also important to keep in mind, as we talk about potential threats to the agricultural and food industries, that right now agricultural producers are producing an abundant, safe food supply.
However, the security we have could be affected. Crops and livestock go from farms to stores at ever-increasing speed. Safety of our food supply has to start at its source, the farm."
What can you, as an agricultural producer, do to help protect your farm?
Common sense tips offered by Marney can help to increase biosecurity on the farm. "Some of these items are management strategies that you probably already employ on the farm. If so, you are doing well to protect your farm," she said.

1.    Learn the health history of your purchased animals. Quarantine new animals for three to four weeks. Feed and handle these animals last.
2.    Maintain a vaccination program and parasite control program for all animals.
3.    Provide disposable boots or disinfectant foot baths for any visitors and make sure they use them.
4.    Animals returning from show, auction or live bird shows should be placed in quarantine for at least two weeks to one month before returning to the herd or flock.
5.    A disease such as foot-and-mouth may not produce clinical symptoms for five days in cattle; 10 days in swine.
6.    Do not let visitors into the operation if they have been outside the continental U.S. during the past 14 days.
7.    Make sure perimeter fencing is secure to prevent contact with livestock from other areas.
8.    Limit direct contact of your animals with wildlife, including deer, birds, raccoons, coyotes and rodents. Try to prevent your animals from sharing a common feed or water source with wildlife.
9.    Separate obviously ill animals from the herd and handle them last.
10.    Know the source and quality of purchased feeds and ensure that no protein supplement derived from ruminant tissues is fed to cattle, sheep or goats.
11.    Do not feed table scraps, human food or garbage to farm animals.

12.    Visitors should wear clean boots and clothing if they have visited other farm facilities or other countries.
13.    Report unusual crop problems or signs of foreign plant diseases.
14.    Buy only an amount of pesticides needed for the season; avoid carryover.
15.    Keep pesticides locked up and control access to them.


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