Advice for Visitors to Farms
If you do business with farmers on their farms, you need to practice good biosecurity, even when they don't ask you to do so. Whether you are a meter reader, carpenter, plumber, electrician, sales or delivery person, you should carry basic protective clothing and equipment with you and use it. This is always true, but the current outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease puts the need more clearly in sight.
Here's what you ought to be doing when you have business on farms:
- If you've been in a foot-and-mouth disease-infected nation within one week, stay off farms. If this isn't possible, wear clothing that has been laundered or dry-cleaned since leaving the infected nation. Stay away from animals or wear a facemask when you're near farm animals. Carry a supply of disposable facemasks, available at hardware stores.
- Park away from areas where your vehicle might come in contact with animal wastes or run-off.
- Carry disposable boots or a disinfectant in your vehicle. Before you enter areas where animals are kept, remove manure and soil from your shoes or boots and disinfect them, or put on disposable boots. Don't wear disposable boots at more than one farm. Disinfect your shoes and boots again before you leave.
- You can buy disinfectants that will kill a range of organisms at farm supply stores. Foot-and-mouth disease is caused by a virus, so the disinfectant you buy will need to include a virucide. Be sure to follow label directions. You can also use white vinegar or a solution of 5 tablespoons of household bleach to one gallon of water.
- Keep a supply of clean or disposable protective clothing in your vehicle. Don't wear this clothing at more than one farm without laundering. If you use disposables, throw them out after wearing them at one farm.
- Heed warning signs asking visitors to stay out of buildings where animals are housed.
- Leave all food in your vehicle.
- If you are picking up sale animals or dead animals, ask the farmer to bring them to an area away from other animals.
For more information call the Animal Health Division, 608-224-4872.