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Thursday, January 4, 2018

Principle #14 - Auditing

By Abby Neu
Extension Educator, Poultry
neux0012@umn.edu | (320) 235 - 0726 x 2019
And Hannah Lochner
Extension Livestock Communications Assistant



You are now acquainted with the Biosecurity Principles of the National Poultry Improvement Plan. Implementation of these principles is essential to the auditing process.

The last video of this series is a conversation with Dr. Shauna Voss  and Dr. Dale Lauer. They give an overview of the audit process, provide an update to how the first 4 months of auditing have progressed and address some frequently asked questions.  


There are a few points of interest not mentioned in the video. The remainder of this post will address them.

Although audits are based on flock size, Minnesota Board of Animal Health is encouraging all commercial premises to participate, as a best practice. Premises exempted from auditing include those who raise fewer than:
  • 100,000 broilers 
  • 30,000 turkeys annually for meat
  • 75,000 table egg layers
  • 25,000 upland game birds annually
  • 25,000 waterfowl birds annually 
Audits will be conducted once every two years to ensure your operation is in compliance. All the audits will consist solely of paper-based assessments of your biosecurity plans and supporting documentation. On-site inspection and evaluation will not occur.

Upon completion, the Official State Agency (MN Board of Animal Health) will provide an audit summary report to the NPIP National Office.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Principle #13 - Reporting of Elevated Morbidity and Mortality

By Abby Neu
Extension Educator, Poultry
neux0012@umn.edu | (320) 235 - 0726 x 2019
And Hannah Lochner
Extension Livestock Communications Assistant


*Please note any templates or resources that can help you, can be found in a Google Drive folder, available to everyone. Bookmark the site: https://z.umn.edu/NPIP for easy access. If a resource is referenced in a post, it is linked directly to the Google Drive.




Understanding that elevated morbidity and mortality plays a major role in analyzing and addressing your flock’s health status may help reduce the magnitude of a possible disease outbreak. Expected and elevated mortality specific to your farm needs to be defined in your biosecurity plan. Supporting documentation for analyzing and monitoring mortality rates should be kept on record. Documentation could include evidence of investigations, tracking graphs, case reports, or mortality logs.

When the mortality rate meets the defined site-specific elevation, it should be reported to the people and entities identified within your biosecurity plan. The Biosecurity Coordinator should provide a written procedure for reporting elevated mortality and specify subsequent action needed to be taken in the farm-site biosecurity plan. Reporting authorities need to be identified by the Biosecurity Coordinator and specified in the biosecurity plan also. Reporting information such as contact information should be kept on-site and easily accessible to appropriate personnel. This accessibility can allow for immediate reporting if needed.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Principle #12 - Feed and Litter Replacement

By Abby Neu
Extension Educator, Poultry
neux0012@umn.edu | (320) 235 - 0726 x 2019
And Hannah Lochner
Extension Livestock Communications Intern


*Please note any templates or resources that can help you, can be found in a Google Drive folder, available to everyone.  Bookmark the site: https://z.umn.edu/NPIP for easy access.  If a resource is referenced in a post, it is linked directly to the Google Drive.





Because feed and litter are in direct contact with your flocks, biosecurity is essential for these production necessities. Wild birds, rodents, insects, and other animals are generally attracted to feed and litter sources and can contribute to the spread of disease.  


Photo credit: Erica Sawatzke
Is feed, feed ingredients and litter stored and maintained in a manner that minimizes exposure and possible contamination? Your biosecurity plan needs to ONLY address the items which are under your direct control.  Descriptions and examples such as written instructions, log sheets, protocols, or permits should be kept to show how exposure to and contamination by disease sources is limited.  

Another item that needs to be included in your plan are feed spills within the Perimeter Buffer Area. Do you have a standard protocol for spilt feed? Feed spills should be cleaned up and disposed of in a timely manner to prevent attracting animals and insects that could be sources of disease.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Principle #11 - Water Supply

By Abby Neu
Extension Educator, Poultry
neux0012@umn.edu | (320) 235 - 0726 x 2019
And Hannah Lochner
Extension Livestock Communications Intern

*Please note any templates or resources that can help you, can be found in a Google Drive folder, available to everyone. Bookmark the site: https://z.umn.edu/NPIP for easy access. If a resource is referenced in a post, it is linked directly to the Google Drive.












Despite its various purposes, your farms source of water determines the level of disease risk associated with it. In addition to providing a drinking source for your flocks, you use water regularly for cleaning and possibly evaporative cooling. Water can play a large role in the spread of disease if not properly managed.

First of all, it is most important to include in your biosecurity plan the source of your water. Is it from a private well, municipal or surface water? For the majority of our Minnesota farms, you have a well or municipal supply, which can be treated. If such is the case, the rest of the audit for this particular principle is simple.

If you rely on surface waters for any part of your farm management, there are further actions that need to be taken and documented to prove your mitigate disease risk on a regular basis. Surface waters can contain a variety of microorganisms introduced by the environment.

As a result, you need to treat the surface water prior to its use within the poultry house. Supporting documentation to define disinfecting protocol should be provided and could include treatment plans or invoices for cleaning chemicals and equipment.Contained water sources such as wells or municipal system are preferred to control microorganism populations in water and to avoid additional treatment protocol and costs. Regardless of the source it is still important to test the water routinely to ensure its safety.
In your biosecurity plan, include your water source and whether or not a water treatment plan is currently followed. If a water treatment plan is not practiced on your farm, do you have a risk analysis set in place to mitigate associated disease risk? The Biosecurity Coordinator should provide evidence that a risk analysis of an untreated system is in place demonstrating steps to mitigate disease risk. Risk assessments do not need to be peer-reviewed or professionally written or executed, but should thoroughly consider water management practices.

By evaluating and documenting the water management plan on your farm you can identify the different risks associated with each system and review the best practice for your farm. Employing biosecure water management on your farm can improve your flock’s health and reduce disease risk.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Principle #10 - Replacement Poultry

By Abby Neu
Extension Educator, Poultry
neux0012@umn.edu | (320) 235 - 0726 x 2019
And Hannah Lochner
Extension Livestock Communications Intern

*Please note any templates or resources that can help you, can be found in a Google Drive folder, available to everyone. Bookmark the site: https://z.umn.edu/NPIP for easy access. If a resource is referenced in a post, it is linked directly to the Google Drive.





Introducing new birds to your facilities can increase the risk of disease development in your existing flock. Replacement poultry is poultry from hatch to maturity intended to become laying hens or breeders. When bringing in replacement poultry, it is important to know the history of those birds. Are these birds coming from flocks that are in compliance with NPIP provisions and program standards? If so, provide supporting documentation such as Forms VS 9-2 or VS 9-3, or NPIP hatchery production records.

When replacement birds are brought to your site take into consideration where the vehicles may have been prior to your farm. Transport vehicles if not disinfected or regularly cleaned may be contaminated. Monitoring vehicle decontamination and inspection can help you diminish disease risk from having these vehicles enter your perimeter buffer area. What biosecure practices do you carry out on your farm? You should have supporting documentation of these practices through truck washing logs, written instructions, inspection reports, or other records you may use if you manage these aspects on-site.

Photo credits:  Erica Sawatzke
In addition to transport vehicles, personnel and equipment involved with placement should also follow biosecurity protocol(s). Personnel need to be aware of the practices used on your farm to optimize biosecurity when bringing in replacement poultry. Be sure to describe your farm’s protocol for transport personnel and provide supporting documentation such as SOPs, visitor log-in sheets, or signed statements. If you use contracted help, have a conversation with the company beforehand so everyone involved is on the same page.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Principle #9 - Manure and Litter Management

By Abby Neu
Extension Educator, Poultry
neux0012@umn.edu | (320) 235 - 0726 x 2019
and Hannah Lochner
Extension Livestock Communications Intern

*Please note any templates or resources that can help you, can be found in a Google Drive folder, available to everyone. Bookmark the site: https://z.umn.edu/NPIP for easy access. If a resource is referenced in a post, it is linked directly to the Google Drive.




Manure and litter management provides frequent opportunity for producers to enact biosecure practices. Manure and spent litter create an environment which can host numerous microorganisms including pathogens. Because of this, management of manure and litter is critical to minimizing disease risk. 

Your biosecurity plan needs to explain how your manure and spent litter is removed, stored, and disposed of. All of these things needs to completed in way that limits the spread of disease. Along with manure management comes pest management to minimize attracting pests such as rodents and insects. 

Your plan could include any clean and disinfect procedures used for manure and litter removal. These practices should also include designated and controlled access points for people, equipment, and vehicles moving waste products. Protocol may also cover practices used to restore the Perimeter Buffer Area (PBA) and the Line of Separation (LOS) following removal of manure and litter. Supporting documentation you can use for your audit may include:
  • Manure management practices 
  • Manure/litter handling log sheets
  • Copies of permits
  • Contractor correspondence

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Principle #8 - Mortality Disposal

By Abby Neu
Extension Educator, Poultry
neux0012@umn.edu | (320) 235 - 0726 x 2019
and Hannah Lochner
Extension Livestock Communications Intern

*Please note any templates or resources that can help you, can be found in a Google Drive folder, available to everyone. Bookmark the site: https://z.umn.edu/NPIP for easy access. If a resource is referenced in a post, it is linked directly to the Google Drive.



Another important principle your biosecurity plan needs to address is mortality disposal. How does your farm handle mortality disposal? When writing your mortality plan, include:
  • the frequency of carcass removal 
  • storage and disposal methods 
  • Pest control around mortality and disposal areas
  • Indicate mortality disposal site on aerial map
Overall, you need to address the protocols you have in place for handling mortalities on your farm. Your protocols should describe how you minimize cross-contamination to other farm sites or between barns.

Supporting documentation that is helpful to include in this aspect of your plan can include:
  • Mortality sheets
  • Disposal records
  • Company contracts
  • Best Management Practices audits
  • SOP’s used for mortality handling
Farmers can dispose of carcasses numerous ways including burying, composting, rendering, and incinerating. Burial offers an inexpensive and biosecure method for disposal. However, all burial sites should be designed to prevent groundwater contamination. In the state of Minnesota, producers can compost poultry without a permit. Composting offers an environmentally-friendly, biosecure, and affordable approach to mortality disposal. Rendering allows carcasses to be processed into useful materials. Rendering services are available and used regularly in Minnesota. Incinerating carcasses, while more costly, is an efficient means of disposing carcasses. Incineration also eliminates pests and rodents attracted to poultry carcasses. Incinerators must be approved by the Pollution Control Agency and follow pollution control standards.

No matter which approach your mortality disposal plan follows, include a detailed description in your biosecurity plan and provide supporting documentation for disposal methods.
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