The federal government and the dairy industry have announced they will work together to create a biosecurity standard.
Late January, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) said they are collaborating to develop a voluntary national farm-level biosecurity standard for the dairy sector.
Most producers already have a commitment to implementing biosecurity programs on their farms, says Gerry Ritz, the minister of Agriculture. So the aim of this new standard will be to provide farmers with goals, objectives and measurable targets to build on the foundations they already have.
“Sound farm-level biosecurity protects animal health and maintains consumer confidence in Canadian products,” says Ritz.
An advisory group – consisting of representatives from the DFC, the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, academia, and provincial and federal governments – will guide the two parties as they develop the standard.
“Biosecurity at farm level is an important tool for preventing the occurrence of diseases in dairy herds,” says Jacques Laforge, president of the DFC.
“Developing a national standard, based on current practices, will encourage wider adoption of best practices on farms across the country.”
A benchmarking exercise will be conducted at the farm-level to help determine current biosecurity practices in the Canadian dairy industry. The exercise will also highlight existing best management practices and will give producers an opportunity to give their input into the standard.
The national standard is expected to be completed by the spring of 2012 and will focus on the broad issues affecting biosecurity. Biosecurity refers to activities that can be done to minimize the risk of introducing and spreading disease and pests.