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Maintain biosecurity with regular farm visitors

Cheryl DeCooman for Progressive Dairyman Published on 30 April 2020

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it brought to light the importance of basic hygiene and how washing your hands, coughing into your elbow and other preventative measures are extremely important in preventing the spread of infectious diseases.

Biosecurity, especially when it comes to visitors on the farm, is extremely important. Think about how many people visit your operation on a daily or weekly basis. Whether it is your veterinarian, a sales representative, service technicians, an inspector or a neighbour stopping by for a visit, you do not always know where visitors are coming from or other pathogens they have been exposed to in their day-to-day activities.



It is everyone’s responsibility to practice basic hygiene and follow a biosecurity protocol in order to prevent the spread of infectious zoonotic diseases.

Biosecurity is extremely important in order to minimize the introduction of infectious diseases to the farm, a spread of disease within the herd and to minimize the spread of zoonotic diseases. You should be following the biosecurity guidelines put forth by proAction and have them as an integrated part of your operation. Additionally, follow these eight guidelines to be proactive about biosecurity when it comes to visitors on the farm.

1. Biosecurity signs: Have a sign at the front of your driveway and at the entrance of each barn that indicates the barn has biosecurity protocols in place and only authorized personnel can go inside. You can also put the owner or farm manager’s number on the door so visitors can call you when they arrive.

2. Visitor log book: In a national Canadian study from 2015, only 2% of dairy operations surveyed had visitor logs. Visitor log books help you track who has been to your operation if there ever was a spread of disease. Logs should include the visitor’s name, date and time they were at the farm, as well as information on the vehicle they were driving.

3. Clean your boots: Have a boot cleaning area in each barn. Ensure disinfectant soap, a scrub brush and running water is available to users. When cleaning boots, it is important to not only remove all organic and physical material but also ensure the entire boot gets cleaned with soap and water. Ensure visitors and farm employees clean their boots when moving between barns; this can help to minimize the spread of diseases between barns.


4. Disposable personal protective equipment: Have disposable boot covers and gloves available to farm visitors.

5. Hand washing: Ask visitors to wash their hands once they arrive at the property and before they leave. If there is no hand washing area available, have hand sanitizer available.

6. Protective clothing: Ensure protective clothing (i.e., coveralls) is worn by employees, and encourage visitors to wear their own protective clothing or change between farm visits.

7. Parking area: Have a designated parking area for visitors. This ensures their vehicle does not go too far into your operation and potentially spreads infectious diseases. This is also an easy way to see if there are visitors on the farm.

8. Minimize animal interaction: Ensure visitors do not touch animals unless their job specifically involves interacting with animals. If they are required to come in contact with animals, ensure they wash their hands thoroughly before and after their interaction. Additionally, they should wear disposable gloves to prevent the potential spread of diseases.

Having biosecurity protocols in place helps to protect the health of your herd, your employees and your family. By putting proactive policies and procedures in place, you can prevent the spread of infectious diseases on your operation and in the dairy community.


For more information about biosecurity and proAction, visit proAction - biosecurity end mark

Cheryl DeCooman, CHRL, can also be reached at (519) 532-2508 or on Twitter and Instagram.

References omitted but are available upon request. Click here to email an editor.

Cheryl DeCooman
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