Missouri swine farmers discuss ways to prevent livestock disease

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SEDALIA — Leaders of the Missouri swine industry discussed the importance of biosecurity in their farms on Tuesday.

Biosecurity includes steps to help protect humans and animals from disease.

The discussion was part of the 2016 MU Swine Institute, which aims to inform industry members about the latest topics and research surrounding swine production.

Emily Severt, a production veterinarian from Smithfield Foods in Princeton, Missouri, said biodiversity is an important step in keeping livestock safe.

“Biosecurity is, in a nutshell, how we protect our pigs and so that can be a procedural barrier or physical barrier,” Severt said.

Severt presented “Biosecurity Procedures that Work” as part of the institute.

“First we talked about what causes disease, and then we talked about how disease spreads throughout a population,” she said.

Severt also taught attendees the three principles of biosecurity: hygiene, segregation and exclusion (keeping disease out).

Even if you do not work on a farm regularly, if you visit one Severt said it is important to follow biosecurity procedures. This can include changing your clothes or staying away from certain livestock beforehand.

Severt said anyone can bring disease into a farm, and it's important to respect a farm owner’s or veterinarian’s procedures.

“We always try to do the right thing by our animals,” Severt said. “Whether that’s how we care for them or how we protect them from diseases that can come in, it’s all important.”