Friday, February 27, 2015

Dairy FAQ: Why don't all farms allow visitors?

Spending the day on the farm is awesome. Unfortunately, more than 98 percent of Americans don't live/work on a farm and may not have this opportunity. Some farms open their doors for agritourism activities to allow these folks to experience farm life and learn more about where their food comes from, but many others can't. It's not because they have anything to hide, but because their top priority is keeping their animals safe and healthy and their bio-security rules mean that random people can't just come into the barn.

Most hog and poultry farms are exactly like this. In fact, usually employees and everyone entering most modern hog barns need to shower in and shower out. Can you imagine doing this just for a tour? If you are looking to learn more about modern pig farming in Indiana, Fair Oaks opened their Pig Adventure to allow folks to see what goes on on a pig farm. A lot of dairies will restrict direct contact with the animals also.

So, why is it a big deal to have visitors? If those visitors have been to another farm or somehow come in contact with an animal disease, they can unknowingly take that to the farm and the animals can get sick. Some farms prohibit visitors that have recently been in a foreign country near farms to come to the farm for a certain amount of time to minimize the risk of transmitting foreign animal diseases that are not found here to their animals.

Keeping animals safe and healthy is the responsible thing to do. Social media makes it easier for farmers to connect with consumers and show them more about what happens on the farm.

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