Temperatures are almost spring like as I write this article. On my family’s farm, we’ve started keeping a closer eye on the herd as the momma cows prepare for calving season. The horses are looking shaggy as their winter coats start to shed, and each night I hear the geese coming to their rest stop at the creek on their way back north.
A couple years ago, I loved watching the geese come in. We had a pair that would come back every year to raise their goslings. Watching them grow and change was always fun, especially when they tried flying lessons around the calves. That all changed almost exactly a year ago when avian influenza arrive in our area. Although I still enjoyed their beauty, all of a sudden, I saw these birds as carrier of a disease that could wipe out an entire operation in one fell swoop.
Last year, I wrote an article on contingency planning, mostly related to estate planning and medical emergencies. In remembering last year’s events at this time, I’d like to suggest a couple of contingency planning ideas that can apply to any operation in regards to biosecurity events.
One is an idea that I have seen going into effect more and more in our area, especially on poultry operations, and that is biosecurity prevention measures. For those in the poultry world, the majority of these are a result of last year’s scare and the integrators’ response. Although the poultry industry has worked to remain on the forefront of prevention measures, the new policies going into effect are hoped to even further that lead. Whether it’s moving to “shower in – shower out” facilities or requiring full decontamination of transportation vehicles between farms, the poultry industry is working to do all it possibly can to prevent another disease outbreak. And that mindset has spread even to lenders such as myself, making sure we have all the permissions needed should we need to visit the farm and following all requirements stringently.
Even cattle operations have started the same measures in order to be pro-active against the current diseases we fight such as BVD, brucellosis, trich, etc., and also against the possibility of a biological threat such as foot and mouth disease being reintroduced to our industry here in the United States. Following protocols ourselves and asking visitors to our operations to do the same can only ensure that our food supply chain remains the safest in the world.
Another suggestion is to make sure that all the principals involved in your operation can openly communicate with one another now, not during or after an incident. I’m talking about making sure you have an open line of communication with your insurance agent, your integrator and your lender, and making sure they can communicate with each other as well. This does not mean that they all need to know every single detail of your operation, but they should be able at the very least to discuss the situation at hand, which will make the recovery process a lot less painful for all involved.
I always tell my customers that my motto is to help you bring your operation to its fullest potential, and that I am here to help, not hinder, your goals.


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