Developing Your Biosecurity Plan: The National Voluntary Farm-Level Biosecurity Standard for the Fruit and Tree Nut Industries
1.0 Introduction

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Canadian fruit and tree nut producers currently implement many biosecurity measures to prevent and manage pests. The objective of the National Voluntary Farm-Level Biosecurity Standard for the Fruit and Tree Nut Industries is to provide producers with a nationally consistent proactive approach to prevent the introduction and spread of pests through implementation of biosecurity measures. A nationally consistent approach to preventing and managing pests is important for Canadian producers to maintain domestic and international markets.

Biosecurity refers to a series of management practices designed to prevent, minimize and manage the introduction and spread of pests. This includes pests not established in Canada, pests established in limited areas of Canada, and pests widely distributed that can spread from farm to farm.

Biosecurity best practices reduce the risk of pests on your farm operation by targeting the possible pathways of introduction, including nursery stock, soil, mulch, air, water, biological and mechanical vectors.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) works with stakeholders to develop national voluntary farm-level biosecurity standards and producer guidance documents for several crop and animal-based sectors. The development process is supported by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) under the Growing Forward 2 Agricultural Policy Framework. To ensure that what is developed is relevant and useful for producers and the sector as a whole, Biosecurity Advisory Committees (BACs) have been developed which pull together expertise from industry and producer organizations, producers, academia, and federal and provincial specialists. See Appendix 2 for partnership acknowledgments.

The National Voluntary Farm-Level Biosecurity Standard for the Fruit and Tree Nut Industries (subsequently referred to as the "Standard") is a national reference document which provides guidance to producers to develop their biosecurity plan. A nationally consistent approach to biosecurity activities and awareness requires the continued partnership and commitment of the federal government, provincial governments and industry. This national standard provides a basic biosecurity framework that may be used by the provinces, industry associations and commodity organizations to develop specific awareness and implementation programs to assist the producer.

The standard is accompanied by a producer guide. The producer guide provides more detailed, commodity specific best practices and other options to be considered to achieve the risk mitigation goals identified in the standard. These reference documents should be used with other commodity specific references that may be available from your provincial and trade associations.

1.1 Biosecurity and Integrated Pest Management

Farm biosecurity and integrated pest management (IPM) both aim to protect crop health. Many biosecurity risk mitigation strategies are synonymous with IPM preventative strategies. The two approaches differ in that farm biosecurity has a greater focus on practices intended to exclude pests from the farm or limit their spread and establishment. In contrast, IPM primarily involves strategically using different practices to control a pest that is already present in a production system or is an imminent threatFootnote 1. For example, IPM prevention activities are often more focused on industry's best management practices such as monitoring, managing environment (for example; soil fertility and pH), and choosing plants appropriate for the growing conditions.

1.2 Why is biosecurity important to producers?

The implementation of biosecurity practices to prevent, minimize, and control the introduction of pests is important for the sustainability of the fruit and tree nut industries in Canada. The implementation of farm-level biosecurity in Canada protects our environment and agricultural sector and supports our reputation as a safe and reliable trading nation. This has significant economic, environmental and community benefits for all Canadians. The development of a farm biosecurity plan will define and formalize many of the risk reduction practices that are already in place in your day-to-day operations, and assist you in addressing potential biosecurity gaps that may exist in your current operation.

The implementation of biosecurity best practices is a way to support the objectives of your farm business plan.

Effective prevention of pest occurrences supports productivity, stabilizes production costs, and protects the value of your farm land. Your farm biosecurity plan will also contribute to protecting the long-term investment in your farm operation.

Your farm biosecurity plan may assist you in retaining customers and accessing new markets. The enhancement of biosecurity practices at the farm level will help you in addressing customer expectations, whether locally, nationally, or internationally.

Other considerations for implementing biosecurity measures and planning within a farm operation include:

  • Maintaining market access;
  • Customer demand for biosecurity practices and protocols;
  • Decreasing production losses;
  • Avoiding the introduction of new pests;
  • Containing and minimizing current biosecurity risks; and
  • Responsibilities to neighbours and industry to ensure that biosecurity risks are not spread to someone else.

1.3 Who is responsible for biosecurity?

Biosecurity is a shared responsibility. Anyone responsible for the health of plants needs to be aware of the risk and accept the responsibility of the potential impact to Canadian agriculture. Implementation of biosecurity measures by everyone will help minimize the potential risk of pest introduction and spread to protect Canada's environment, plant resource base and economy from biosecurity threats.

1.4 Who is the document for?

The biosecurity standard is for everyone. Anyone responsible for the health of plants from small farms operations, to large facilities, should consider developing a written biosecurity plan. This biosecurity reference tool is not designed to provide guidance on the risks associated with the production of nursery stock. For guidance related to these activities please refer to the National Voluntary Farm Level Biosecurity Standard for the Greenhouse, Nursery and Floriculture Industries.

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