Mitch Christensen is Chief Veterinary Officer and leads Topigs Norsvin Global Veterinary Services team. The team is responsible for building the biosecurity program for our global nucleus, multiplier, and AI Centers. Biosecurity and the prevention of a new disease introduction are critical to the success of any pig farm.
Mitch’s key elements of biosecurity:
- Create a biosecurity culture and mindset with farm employees. Biosecurity needs to be at the top of their minds 365 days a year, and having regular reminders of the importance will help. Make it a routine to review biosecurity topics and complete further training with all employees. Help your farm staff understand the importance by discussing the impact a health break would be on the farm, not only on productivity but also financially.
- Remember the external biosecurity risks that impact the farm, like transportation and feed supply. Regular biosecurity assessments of the transport provider and feed mill should be included in your biosecurity program.
- Make investments that help make compliance to biosecurity procedures easy to follow. For example, create a farm entry with a solid bench creating a clear clean-dirty line. Remember to make it easy for employees to hang up coats, reach shoes, and leave plenty of room to sit. Keep showers clean and provide your staff with the soap and shampoo they prefer to use.
- Measure and benchmark your biosecurity program. Schedule a focused and comprehensive review of all the biosecurity processes annually. Do not wait for a health break to occur before completing a comprehensive biosecurity assessment.
- Build as many preventative biosecurity layers into your program as possible. Have multiple safeguards in place in the event a failure would occur at some other point in a process. For example, incoming supplies could be removed from the outer packaging, stored for a period of time in a dry, warm supply entry room, and then finally wiped with disinfectant wipes before entering the farm. You have now created three layers of protection in the event a contaminated box arrives at your site.