The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is working with the Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) to develop a voluntary national farm-level biosecurity standard for the dairy industry.

Biosecurity refers to steps that minimize the risk of introducing and spreading disease and pests.

An advisory group, composed of representatives from DFC, the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, academia, and provincial and federal governments, will guide development of the standard.

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said Canadian dairy producers have a good record in creating and implementing biosecurity programs on their farms so “the standard will build on this foundation by providing goals, objectives and measurable targets. Sound farm-level biosecurity protects animal health and maintains consumer confidence in Canadian products.”

“Biosecurity at farm level is an important tool for preventing the occurrence of diseases in dairy herds,” said Jacques Laforge, president of Dairy Farmers of Canada. “Developing a national standard, based on current practices, will encourage wider adoption of best practices on farms across the country. DFC is pleased to continue collaborating with the government on biosecurity and other initiatives that strengthen the dairy industry.”

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 input into the standard.

The national standard is expected to be completed by spring 2012 and will focus on the broad issues affecting biosecurity.