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On-Farm Security

Maintaining the integrity of America's food production system is essential to consumers worldwide. The U.S. dairy industry has made safety and security a top priority.

To understand our responsibility as dairy producers, we must first have a general understanding of on-farm security, food defense and biosecurity.

On-farm security or pre-harvest security, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), is the act of reducing security risks at the farm level, including the prevention of intentional or unintentional injury to crops or livestock. In addition to prevention, early identification is also very important to minimize damage should an event occur.

Food defense is the collective term used by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), USDA and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to encompass activities associated with protecting the nation's food supply from deliberate or intentional acts of contamination or tampering. This term encompasses other similar verbiage (i.e., bioterrorism and counter-terrorism).

Biosecurity embodies all the cumulative measures that can or should be taken to keep disease (viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and parasites) from infecting a farm and to prevent the transmission of disease (by humans, insects, rodents, and wild birds/animals) from an infected farm to neighboring farms.

Chances are, you're already implementing some on-farm security, food defense and biosecurity measures, but you may not have thought of your common-sense practices in that way. For instance, it's likely that when you travel you don't advertise your absence. Instead, you ask a trusted neighbor or employee to check on your house, collect mail and maintain typical dairy herd feeding and milking routines. You post emergency numbers. You have a proactive herd health plan. And, of course, you lock your doors. These routine measures help to protect your home, dairy operation and dairy products from harm.

As producers, we must recognize our on-farm security efforts and communicate them to the public.

Click here to learn more about Speaking Out About Safety.

USDA developed the Pre-Harvest Security Guidelines and Checklist 2006 to assist producers in further reducing security risks at the farm level.

USDA suggests that producers review the voluntary guidelines and checklist to determine the recommendations most appropriate for their operation.

Click here to download a PDF of USDA's Pre-Harvest Security Guidelines and Checklist 2006. This resource includes the following information:

  • An introduction to and overview of General Security measures, including Awareness, Planning, Barriers, Community, Inventory Control, Law Enforcement, Lighting, Locks, Signage, Training and Visitors and Personnel (pages 3-8)
  • Security Plan Guidance - Voluntary Checklist, including General Security measures, as well as production-specific measures for Dairy Security, Crop Security, Cattle Security and Poultry Security (pages 9-14)
  • Checklists to assist in the creation of a Facility map and list of Emergency Contacts (pages 15-16)
  • Links to additional Farm Security Resources and References, including General Farm Security, Crop Security, Livestock Security, Information for Employers and USDA Web sites (pages 17-19)

The U.S. dairy and beef cattle industries also have developed on-farm security and biosecurity resources. Click here to view Industry Resource Links.

If you have additional questions or feedback, please contact us.

Dairy Management Inc. International Dairy Foods Association National Milk Producers Federation U.S. Dairy Export Council