“Just as we wash our hands before eating or leaving the bathroom, requesting a ranch visitor to wear a pair of clean, disinfected rubber boots before potentially spreading a disease such as foot and mouth, is a sound and reasonable management practice to follow,” says Gary Veserat, animal science consultant with Veserat Consulting in Woodland, Calif.

Ranch tours, ranch visits and regulatory inspections are part of every-day life on a ranch. To help prevent the potential spread of disease from visitors, Mr. Veserat suggests implementing the following practices to lower the risk of introducing a disease on to your ranch.

At Risk visitors could be anyone who maybe in contact with livestock, have manure on their boots or clothes, a foreign rancher, or maybe even a meter reader for the power company. Have all visitors and their vehicles report to your office or specific location near the entrance to your ranch.

  • Wear plastic or clean (rubber) boots when you are visiting a ranch.
  • When visitors come on your ranch, supply plastic disposable boots for everyone and collect the dirty boots in a garbage bag for disposal. Even supplying disposable paper coveralls will help lower the risk of spreading disease on your ranch.
  • Disinfect rubber boots immediately upon arrival at a ranch or use plastic disposable boots.
  • Disinfect rubber boots before departing a ranch or use disposable plastic boots.
  • Use an appropriate disinfectant such as: Environ One-Stroke, Nolvasan, Roccal, even a solution of 10 percent Clorox will disinfect rubber boots.
  • Avoid high-risk situations such as quarantined herds, newly assembled cattle groups, or clinically (obviously) sick animals.
  • If you have foreign visitors, they should have avoided being around livestock in their homeland or other foreign countries for two weeks before visiting your ranch.
  • Identify what country your international visitors are from.
  • Avoid walking in feed alleys or feeding areas.
  • If possible, visit young animals first, and then adult cattle last during your ranch visit.

Visitors should be encouraged to avoid carrying infectious agents home by removing and/or sanitizing boots at departure from the ranch. Wash clothes worn at ranch visits or ranch tours before wearing them at your home ranch. You should wash your hands and probably bathe before going back to work on your ranch.

“As ranching methods become more globally shared, visitors to your ranch and your visits to other ranches become a real possibility,” says Dr. Vaserat. “In the future, sanitation stations which provide disinfectant, plastic boots and hand washing facilities, will be the first and last stop for any ranch visitor. This protects both you and your ranch whether you are the visitor or visitors are on your ranch.”

For more information contact Gary Veserat, PAS, at (530) 668-4884 or E-mail - gveserat@cattlemen.net .