Biosecurity is a vital part of raising pigs. In fact, it comes right after animal welfare. Even though we are almost out of the woods for PRRS season, the imminent threat of PEDv is still going strong and the new dangers associated with the coronavirus mean that biosecurity has become more important than ever. Preventing disease and keeping animals healthy are part of making production practices easier for employees and more profitable for employers.
I have now worked for four different hog companies. In each, they have taken biosecurity very seriously. Of course, they have biosecurity health pyramids, which give restrictions from farm to farm. At Pillen Family Farms and DNA Genetics, they also have biosecurity pyramids to help employees remember what biosecurity is for and how to execute it.
The three points in the pyramid are belief, discipline and accountability. Belief is important because one must believe in what they are doing in order to gain the discipline needed to execute good biosecurity measures. Accountability reflects on a person and his or her integrity to get a job done correctly.
There are multiple ways workers can take extra measures to protect farms and pigs. Here is a list of ways I take biosecurity to the next level:
- Not stopping anywhere before work
- Having clothes that I only wear to work
- Taking a thorough shower
- Washing my car at least once/month
- Being aware of entrances/exits in the barn
- Always doing chores youngest to oldest
Another significant role in disease spread is transportation. This includes the truck, trailer and driver. Drivers can have a huge impact on biosecurity. Many farms have diseases because trailers are still infected with disease. Drivers can really make a difference in disease spread by believing, having discipline and being accountable.
Biosecurity is a huge priority now. The pork industry has to step up together and educate all companies and employees on how to correctly execute biosecurity. I understand there is only so much we can do, but if we take the extra steps it could go a long way in protecting our industry.