More than a year after launching a website designed as a “one-stop shop” for pork producers seeking to strengthen their on-farm biosecurity programs, experts from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine have expanded the site by making resource materials available in Spanish.
“We can see that many people are accessing the site’s resource page, which includes checklists, info sheets, and on-farm signage,” said Dr. Isha Agrawal, one of the site’s creators, who is pursuing a PhD in the Department of Pathobiology.
“Many farm employees are Spanish speakers, and a farm owner asked us to provide the resources in Spanish. We decided to start with the infographics on the resource page. If we find that users access the Spanish materials, we may translate the entire website into Spanish.”
Dr. Agrawal notes that swine farms need training materials to educate new employees as they come on board. Materials using graphics and text in the learner’s first language will be more accessible and thus more likely to be understood and followed.
“Our goal is to present the material in a form that is comprehensible for the people working on the farm,” she said.
Biosecurity Prevents Disease Outbreaks
The Swine Biosecurity website gained Farm Bill funding through the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
In addition to the infographic resources, the website provides a concise and jargon-free overview of swine disease, internal and external biosecurity practices, and how to create a farm-specific biosecurity plan. Developing a biosecurity plan and training farm employees on biosecurity practices are necessary steps to prevent devastating disease outbreaks on U.S. swine farms.
The Farm Bill grant was provided to Dr. Csaba Varga, an assistant professor in the veterinary college and the university’s Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology.
“The dissemination of authoritative and easy-to-follow information is crucial to protect the health of animals on farms, the profitability of individual farms, and the integrity of the swine industry throughout the country,” noted Dr. Varga. “One instance of disease outbreak can rapidly spread and impact the entire industry.”