Tag Archives: biosecurity

When the Premier Comes to Visit

Posted on Tuesday, August 20, 2013 by Steph N

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_2066.JPGOn August 6 the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) put on an Eastern Ontario farm tour for Premier Kathleen Wynne, who on that day was acting in her second role as Ontario Agriculture Minister. This tour acted as a way not only for farmers to tell the Government of Ontario what is happening in agriculture, but also allowed many farmers in the region to showcase their amazing farms and hard-working families. Over the course of the day Premier Wynne visited beef, dairy, swine, vegetable and crop farms, and the Canadian Co-operative Wool Growers before finishing the tour at my family’s egg and crop farm.

During her stop at my farm, my family was able to give a tour of our egg room where we gather our eggs, and even had Premier Wynne gathering a few on her own. This means that the dozen eggs you just bought last week may have been gathered by the Premier! Even though we had a few important people in our barn and got to showcase our facility, we still strictly followed bio-security practices as all farmers must to ensure the safety and the health of our animals. This meant that the press, the staff from the Premiers office, and the Premier had to put on plastic boots to avoid any contamination or bacteria coming into our barn from their shoes. It made for a great opportunity for learning, but not great for talking – plastic boots make lots of noise when walking!

We also had the opportunity to show the tour a few of the crops we grow including soybeans, an important crop for farmers in Ontario. I even taught the Premier how to check if the nodules on the roots (formed by a nitrogen fixing bacteria that can provide nitrogen to the plant) were still healthy by breaking them open to see the colour was a fleshy pink like it should be. As an agronomist as well as an egg farmer, it was great being able to teach people about both. 

The last part of the tour on our farm was an exciting opportunity for a few young farmers and myself to meet with the Premier. We were able to share the successes and struggles that young farmers experience in today’s changing agriculture industry. We are very optimistic about where agriculture is going and where it will take us, but are also cautious because of the challenges that lie ahead of us – including financials, societal perceptions, and labour availability. We want to ensure that consumers know that we have their and our animal’s best interests in mind and hope to have the chance to educate them more about what we do. It is a daunting but exciting job to farm and while there are many differences between farmers from beef to dairy to eggs to strawberries, the sentiment between us is the same – we all farm because we love it.

 

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Showing the Premier/Ag Minister a soybean plant

You have to shower BEFORE going into the barn?

Posted on Tuesday, July 16, 2013 by Kendra

When you walk into a hospital, the first thing you do is wipe your hands down with hand sanitizer, right? Well, essentially, that’s biosecurity.

The reason you use hand sanitizer when you go into a hospital, is so you don’t bring in new bugs into the hospital. As pig farmers, we take the same sort of steps to insure that our pigs stay healthy and no new bugs or illnesses are brought into the barn.

Most pig farms require that you shower in before entering the barn. By removing all outside clothing, showering and putting on clothes that do not leave the barn, means that the chance that new bugs or diseases will enter the barn is low. It’s very important that anyone entering the barn shower and change into barn clothes, whether they have been around pigs before or not.

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Another step in our biosecurity protocols is that all vehicles must park at least 15 feet from the perimeter of the barn. This also helps keep any bugs or dirt that may have been picked up by tires on the roadway, away from the barn. Vehicles that have been to another pig barn are recommended to be washed prior to visiting just as an added step of protection.

One last very important step that all visitors must take, is signing into the barn and guaranteeing they have not been around any other pigs within the past 48hours. By waiting 48 hours, it ensures that any bugs you may have brought from another barn are no longer lingering on your skin. It’s also very important that you do not wear any clothes that you may have worn to another barn.

Besides all the steps that we as people take to ensure proper biosecurity in the barn, we also need to worry about what animals & rodents are bringing into the barn! No cats or dogs are allowed in the barn, because unlike people, they do not follow all our biosecurity protocols each time they enter the barn! We set and bait rodent traps on a regular basis, as rodents are a major carrier of disease (no one said they couldn’t go in that pig barn down the road this morning before coming to visit us!).

By having such strict biosecurity, we as pig farmers can be sure that we keep the pigs as healthy as possible. No farmer likes to give their animals medication, and the best way to keep from doing that is preventing illness in the barn in the first place. Prevention is key to healthy animals! Even with such strict biosecurity, most pig farms welcome visitors, so long as you follow all biosecurity protocols.