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Ref: Dairy Farmers of America implement biosecurity program


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DFA’s mySecurity Gives Farmers Tools to Combat Threat of Contamination

December 20 , 2006, Kansas City, MO - Dairy Farmers of America, Inc. (DFA) has instituted a program to help members increase their on-farm security. mySecurity, a voluntary information and awareness program, allows members to better protect their animals and the milk they produce from accidental or intentional contamination. The program was developed for DFA members who want the latest industry updates, techniques, tools and strategies pertaining to on-farm biosecurity, product and farm safety; and family and farm emergency action plans.

The new program is being rolled out in two phases. During phase I, each participant receives a free mySecurity tool kit containing an all-weather “Restricted Access” sign printed in Spanish and English, and a “DFA Guide to Farm Biosecurity” bilingual wall chart. The kit also contains an emergency contact form, farm security guidelines and fact sheets.

“We hope to see full participation in the mySecurity program by our members,” says Jim Carroll, DFA vice president of quality assurance and regulatory issues. “Agriculture has been identified as a critical infrastructure in this country in regard to security issues. Our customers, and our customers’ customers, are vitally aware that a continuum of security from the farm to the supermarket is critical to keep our food supply safe.”

Carroll says DFA’s mySecurity program is one part of a much larger series of activities now completed or underway at DFA to assure safety at the farm and throughout the food chain. According to Carroll, all DFA plants have now been registered in compliance with the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002, and DFA has revised all Emergency Action Plan procedures for DFA to aid personnel in case of an emergency. DFA’s management team also has established crises management procedures at locations, including shipping warehouses, and at mailing, shipping and receiving points to increase the safety of DFA employees.

Although the dairy industry is highly regulated and already employs standard guidelines for safety, DFA felt members could benefit from increased measures and assistance with emergency preparedness planning. mySecurity is an added value program that’s a supplement to a number of other safety programs already implemented by DFA. These programs include a milk tank seal policy; emergency field procedures; revised field and farm biosecurity procedures; support for a national animal identification program; and support for the 5-STAR Quality Assurance program, which recognizes high milk quality and animal husbandry standards. DFA also has established Emergency Preparedness Teams at DFA locations; trained DFA managers to access emergency plans from any location; and held crisis communication management spokesperson training sessions.

Carroll says Phase I of the mySecurity program has been successfully tested in several pilot areas, and the program already is attracting attention from DFA’s customers. Ryan Anglin, a DFA producer and board member who milks 300 cows near Bentonville, Ark., hosted a site visit by representatives from Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart was interested in learning more about DFA’s mySecurity program and the security measures Anglin implemented at his farm.

Phase II of the program, now under development, will feature a mySecurity Web site where participating DFA members can enter information about their farm and create a security plan tailored to their farm. They also will be able to access the Web site to obtain a summary of their state’s animal disease emergency plan, as well as a database that includes emergency contact information for various government agencies.

“In my opinion, every DFA member has a responsibility to assure the safety of the milk supply on their farm,” says Case Van Steyn, of Elk Grove, Calif., who serves on DFA’s Western Area Council. “We’re producing a food product, and we’re handling a food product, so the responsibility starts with us.”

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