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Biosecurity Workshop Provides Healthy Discussion

By Joyce Meader

dairy barn

Mary Margaret Cole at the Kellogg Dairy Barn on Jan. 16, 2014. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

How would a dairy or livestock business survive if a Foreign Animal Disease arrived in the United States? Using Foot and Mouth Disease as an example, participants of this week’s Biosecurity Work­ shop heard from Dr. Richard Horowitz about the New England Secure Milk Supply’s steps to maintain a permit to ship milk when the disease has not reached your farm. These included: secure the perimeter, clean and disinfect sources of the virus, and daily monitor for the disease.

Dr. Cantor, New England Emergency Coordinator for USDA APHIS, related the threat that other countries have experienced and how a two-week delay in notification increased the severity of the control measures drastically. It is not, IF, but WHEN the disease is transported into our country again. The last occurrence was in 1929 in San Francisco, but world travel by farm visitors and importation of animals is so much more common now.

Dr. Andrew, UConn Dairy Specialist, presented the map of the UConn dairy and livestock barns, and the many visitors and vehicles travel between barns and from the community. The group provided their recommendations for the Line of Separation to establish the safe zone on the farm, and the outside to keep out sources of infection.

And finally, Dr. Lis, CT Department of Agriculture, requested that all dairy farms submit a self-assessment to her of their farm readiness to remain disease free in the case of an outbreak. Knowing the commitment of each farm to disease prevention will help in the decision to allow milk pick up during the outbreak. The farmers and staff from the University, State Departments of Agriculture, and USDA APHIS left the workshop ready to continue this discussion at local farm meetings, more aware of the challenges that will be faced by our important food producers and government decision makers when a foreign animal disease arrived uninvited.

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Participants Needed for Pasture Study


Joyce Meader and Rachel Freund at Freund’s Farm in East Canaan.

Steep land with rock outcroppings is not appropriate for tilled crops and machinery. These farms are using fencing and paddock rotation to feed their livestock efficiently. With proper fertilization, and liming, forage quality and density can be improved. But adequate grazing pressure is necessary to reduce wasted forage as the animals trample and pee and poop across their dinner plate. Following last summer’s sampling which found 82% average utilization of the pasture forage on thirteen farms, UConn Extension summer intern, Holly Lewis will visit additional farms to encourage farms to analyze the forage quality as well as measure pasture quantity consumed. Interested participants can email at for May-July study visits. Rations will be evaluated by UConn Extension Dairy/Livestock educator, Joyce Meader.

Stuart Family Farm

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UConn Extension’s Scaling Up Program created a video series on farmers in Connecticut. This film features Bill Stuart Jr. of Stuart Family Farm in Bridgewater.

Windham Extension Council

The Windham County Extension Council hosted their Annual Meeting in May, and included a presentation from UConn Extension’s Joyce Meader on livestock.

meeting room  minutes at meeting