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Biosecurity is the steps a farm and industry take to keep infectious diseases away from animals, property, and the people who interact with them. Biosecurity protects not only your animals, it also protects neighboring farms, your employees, and consumers. Whether animals are on the farm, moving from one site to another, going to auction, participating in a show/event, or part of the agrotourism industry, biosecurity is critical to protect the Nation's food supply. All animal owners are responsible for keeping their animals healthy and free of disease. 

Diseases can be spread in many ways, including through physical contact, by contamination of inanimate objects (clothing, boots, vehicles, equipment, etc.), through inhalation of the disease agent in aerosolized droplets, and by consumption of contaminated food or water. Biosecurity should address mitigation strategies to reduce the risk of transmission. The basics of biosecurity include:

  1. Employee training    
    • Anyone regularly interacting with your animals, including family members, should have proper training on how to "cleanly" enter animal housing areas. For some facilities, this may mean developing a shower-in and shower-out protocol, while for other livestock facilities, this may mean changing outerwear and using disposable boot coverings. 
  2. Herd/flock protection strategies
    • Farm Access
      • Limit entry to your operation by limiting and designating entry points and signs at entry points with biosecurity information. Designate parking areas that are away from animal areas.
    • Animal Health/Disease Monitoring
      • Ensure staff/family working with animals follow good animal handling practices and know the signs of disease. Designate a separate area to isolate sick animals and ensure animal caretakers work with the healthiest and youngest animals first, then older animals, then sick animals last.
      • Develop a system for caretakers to record health treatments and report animal health issues. Investigate all animals with unusual signs or those who do not respond to treatment. This may mean notifying your herd/flock veterinarian or the Illinois Department of Agriculture.
  3. Vehicles and Equipment
    • Limit shared vehicles, machines, and equipment.Clean and disinfect all shared equipment before entering your property.
    • Ensure vehicles entering your farm (including feed, milk truck, animal movement, maintenance, and deliveries) follow a developed entry protocol that may include cleaning and disinfection. 
  4. Personnel
    • Limit people handling animals to those with clean clothing, footwear, and hands. Consider restricting access to people who have been in contact with other livestock or traveled internationally. 
  5. Animal Movement
    • Individually identify animals according to species standards. Record all animal movements on and off the premises.
    • Purchase animals from premises that practice good biosecurity. Isolate new animals for 21-30 days before introducing them to the herd.
  6. Animal Products (semen, embryos, milk)
    • Purchase semen from operations with good biosecurity. Limit purchases of colostrum/milk to pasteurized sources.
    • Record all seme/embryo/milk/colostrum movements on and off the premises.
  7. Carcass Disposal
  8. Manure Management
    • Ensure animal housing is regularly maintained to prevent manure buildup and that the manure is removed and stored to prevent exposing young animals to disease agents. 
  9. Vector Control (rodents, wildlife)
    • Use an on-farm person or professional company to place and monitor rodent/pest bait. Take steps to minimize bird and rodent nesting around your operation. Prevent cats/dogs from roaming between operations.
  10. Feed/Water
    • Ensure waterers and the surrounding area are regularly cleaned. Clean up feed spills immediately to reduce scavengers
    • Purchase feed from sources with a quality control program. Ensure grain and feed are delivered, stored, mixed, and fed in a manner that minimizes contamination.