Biosecurity for Canadian Dairy Farms - Producer Planning Guide
1. About this document

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1.1 Who should use this Guide?

This Producer Planning Guide has been developed for dairy producers across Canada to assist with the preparation of farm-specific biosecurity plans and the implementation of relevant biosecurity best management practices. Farm workers, family members, service providers and all others who conduct business with and/or visit the dairy farm can also use this guide. Everyone has a role to play in biosecurity and can contribute positively to biosecurity efforts on the farm.

1.2 Objective of this Guide

The document Biosecurity for Canadian Dairy Farms: National Standard outlines a set of target outcomes that every dairy producer should strive to achieve on the farm. The objective of this accompanying guide is to illustrate how producers can meet these outcomes through a set of best management practices and a list of key activities.

The best management practices have been compiled following producer-level consultations and a comprehensive literature review, which included an examination of existing international biosecurity initiatives. An advisory committee of producers and representatives from the dairy industry, academia and the public sector provided invaluable guidance.

Dairy producers are in the business of producing food for human consumption and as a result food safety is an industry priority. The application of good biosecurity best management practices will serve to underpin the production of safe, quality-assured dairy products in a sustainable manner to support the future of dairy farming in Canada on a local and regional scale.

1.3 How to use this Guide

Producers are encouraged to prepare biosecurity plans that are specific to their farm operations using the National Standard, and to refer to this Planning Guide for the best management practices that are relevant to the needs of their dairy farms.

This Guide presents a framework to assist in the development of a farm-specific biosecurity plan. Section 2 outlines the key steps for laying the foundation of a farm-level biosecurity plan and provides relevant resources for each of the preparatory steps.

To assist with building the plan, the highlighted best management practices are provided in Section 3. This section directly aligns with the approach of the document Biosecurity for Canadian Dairy Farms: National Standard. Using this approach, there are four biosecurity Control Areas:

  1. animal health management
  2. animal additions and movement
  3. premises' management and sanitation
  4. personnel, visitors, vehicles and equipment

As previously stated, within each of these control areas, a target outcome has been identified as a goal for the industry in Canada. A number of strategies are then listed for each control area with accompanying best management practices.

Additional reference material is provided in the indices and appendices. This Planning Guide is designed to be a resource for producers and it is not expected that producers will read the document cover to cover at one time, but work through the document as they develop their plans.

For those who require more detail for the best management practices, there is a corresponding index for each control area that provides specific activities associated with each best management practice. This material is comprehensive, but is not a complete listing of all practices that could be used to meet the target outcomes.

Explanations of important terms used in this document and in reference to biosecurity are provided in Appendix A: Glossary of Terms. Appendix B: Risk Assessment Tool contains a checklist to evaluate specific biosecurity risks on your farm. Biosecurity is a process of managing risk and therefore the use of this tool is a valuable step in biosecurity planning.

No single biosecurity plan will meet the needs of all farms or agricultural businesses. Each business must assess the potential risks and develop a flexible and practical biosecurity plan tailored to its operation. Also, because it is unlikely that all risks can be mitigated, a biosecurity plan must include a contingency or emergency plan for the farm in the event that a disease or chemical event might occur.

1.4 Other Relevant References

In developing this Planning Guide, information was taken from a number of documents. The Code of Practice – For the Care and Handling of Dairy Cattle (2009); the Canadian Quality Milk On-Farm Food Safety Program Reference Manual (June 2010) and the Biosecurity for Canadian Dairy Farms: National Standard documents should be consulted where appropriate when developing a farm-specific biosecurity plan.

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