By Canadian Poultry magazine
Faced with a pandemic, biosecurity expert shares his insights.
By Canadian Poultry magazine
Mark Beaven has 25 years of experience as a biosecurity expert in the poultry industry. Over that time, he’s worked in regulatory enforcement, led a national animal health organization and brought innovative solutions to market. Faced with a pandemic, we tapped his expertise for tips.
Tell us about your background.
About 25 years ago, I started with Egg Farmers of Ontario (EFO) as a regulatory enforcement officer. I ended up being director of operations, responsible for all the biosecurity and regulatory enforcement. Then around 2008 I left EFO to become the executive director of the Canadian Animal Health Coalition. It’s comprised of national livestock groups. And then I learned about accelerated hydrogen peroxide and how it was taking over the human health world. So, myself and a former colleague formed a company (now called Ogena Solutions) and started selling it to farms.
What are you most proud of?
In the early 2000s while I was with EFO, I was part of the team that created the Feather Board Command Centre. We were world leaders when it came to separate commodities coming together in case of an emergency. It’s also been exciting to see how the use of accelerated hydrogen peroxide has grown in animal agriculture.
What does the pandemic mean for poultry producers?
First of all, we’re in a unique position in that it’s a normal routine for producers to follow biosecurity protocols. They have a working knowledge of disease, infection control and prevention. There’s no evidence right now that it can infect poultry. The issue is we need to keep our employees safe. Agriculture is a labour-intensive industry. It’s no secret that we have a shortage of farm workers. That’s why we need every employee to be healthy and safe and to ensure the supply chain keeps rolling.
How can producers protect themselves and their staff?
Right now, producers focus on cleaning and disinfecting production areas. We need to extend that to more employee work areas, especially those common touch surfaces like door knobs and pieces of equipment. Producers need to ensure there is either a handwashing station or hand sanitizer readily available. The other thing is just education and encouragement. The biggest risk for transmitting COVID-19 is touching your face with your hands. So, we want to make sure employees are doing their best to limit that. Also, if you have multiple employees start staggering their shifts to prevent them from congregating.
How do you spend downtime?
I was one of those crazy people who went to Mexico for March Break. I’ve been in self-isolation since I got back. I’ve been working a lot. Also, my fiancé is a teacher. They’re in a new world trying to figure out how to teach virtually. So, we’ve had some fun producing video lessons together.
Mark Beaven is vice president at Ogena Solutions.