What a contingency plan is and why you need one

It’s 2021, and we’re not only coming out of a global pandemic that’s threatened livelihoods but also one of the worst avian influenza outbreaks on record. Four distinct variants of the HPAI H5 virus have been identified at the same time across the country. 

 In total, 19 separate outbreaks were detected in the UK and Northern Ireland 2020-21. The impact on agriculture has been catastrophic.  

Some farmers rely exclusively on insurance to provide essential financial support to aid recovery after such an event. A more effective approach would be to minimise the impact of a crisis by actively protecting the business in a way that facilitates ongoing productivity. 

That’s where a good Disease Outbreak Contingency Plan – or CP – comes in. 

What is a Disease Outbreak Contingency Plan?

A contingency plan looks beyond real-time data to consider possible scenarios that may arise in the future, designing strategies to manage these potential risks and threats. 

In agriculture, contingency planning is a way to ‘expect the unexpected, and ensure that bespoke, reliable policies and processes are in place should the worst happen. 

A farm-based CP will usually cover aspects such as:

  • Potential risks, disasters, and emergency scenarios
  • Possible impact on animal welfare
  • Best practices for mitigating risk and maintaining the welfare of healthy livestock
  • Incorporating CP strategies into business operations and ways of working
  • Roles and responsibilities of workers and Government agencies in a crisis

However, there’s no such thing as a standard CP. A good contingency plan is a bespoke contingency plan, taking into account the risk to specific land parcels and animals and the impact on your livestock, farm, organisation, and community. 

Overall, a successful CP should achieve three things:

  1. Ensure minimal disruption to the farm, business, and local communities
  2. Reduce the need to slaughter livestock as much as possible
  3. Minimise damage to the environment

Contingency plans also differ depending on who’s creating them. So while we can’t speak for everyone, we can offer insight into what goes into creating a bespoke Livetec contingency plan, developed by our trustworthy, experienced biosecurity experts. 

  •     Our Biosecurity Advisory Service provides you with an on-farm visit with a biosecurity expert. With this service, we become a supportive partner to your farm business, assisting you in minimising risks and knowing how you can better protect your farm from disease incursion. Providing the highest level of protection, our Livetec experts help you put biosecurity measures into practice that are tailored to your farm.
  •    Contingency planning is incredibly important within the agricultural industry, especially for poultry farmers, who are seeing the constant threat of disease spread every year. Our contingency plans encompass every aspect of farm businesses, predicting scenarios, risks and emergencies that could arise in the future and designing strategies that help to manage the impact of these concerns.
  •      National Outbreak Plan: Our National Outbreak Plan distils all to simplify all the regulations and requirements set by the UK government into an easy to follow document, to provide bird owners with a wealth of up to date information, detailing everything you need to know should you be impacted by zones or a disease outbreak.
  •     An Emergency Response Plan significantly enhances your preparedness. Related to biosecurity planning, the emergency response plan by Livetec is designed to cover everything that APHA needs from you if and when they visit your farm business.
  •      Cleaning and Disinfection Plan: A critical part of disease recovery includes the ability to undertake thorough and comprehensive cleaning and disinfection of the premises. This can take place after an outbreak, or simply between flocks and when shutting down and reopening sheds. 

This past year has shown all of us that the worst scenarios really can happen. And while we may not be able to accurately predict situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic or the four-variant HPAI H5 outbreak, we can take action – together – to ensure that we’re prepared and ready to handle whatever comes next with a strong, reliable CP. 

Click here to contact the Livetec team today.

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