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DEFRA offers 31.6 million for health and welfare planning

by 5m Editor
31 May 2007, at 10:59am

UK - More than 31.6 million has been granted to fund projects aimed at helping farmers improve animal health and welfare.

DEFRA has awarded the money to twenty-seven different projects to help fund a variety of farm health planning events and initiatives. Projects include farmer training, advice workshops and the development of farm health planning ‘champions’.

Farm health planning means undertaking a range of measures to proactively manage health and minise the disease risk on-farm. It involves good record keeping; identifying existing health problems and prioritising control measures. Workimg with vets to develop action plans for specific problems, assess the efficacy of control measures and review health plans are also key elements.

Minister for Animal Health and Welfare, Ben Bradshaw,said initiative has real benefits for farmers, both in terms of the health of their herds and the profitability and sustainability of their farms.

"Disease is not inevitable and we hope to see real improvements across the industry as a result of this joint initiative between Government and industry and a more proactive approach to health management. I look forward to seeing these exciting projects up and running over the coming months.”

Vet Tony O'Loughlin from the St David’s Farm Practice in Exmouth, Devon, said his aim is to ensure that all his farms have a working Health Plan in place within the next 12 months.

DEFRA's funding will support his work which includes setting up farmer discussion groups to share information and arranging lectures at local Agriculture colleges to increase awareness among young farmers. "As vets we believe that this approach will help to make our farmers more aware of the cost effectiveness of good management and disease control.”

Pig's ahead

The British Pig Industry Health Scheme and its herd heath planning initiative is already underway. A pilot project to design, test and implement a web-based Pig Herd Health Plan in the commercial sector and a series of workshops on farm health planning for small-scale and hobby farmers will be held in the coming months.

A proposal for a wider industry project on health planning is currently under consideration by DEFRA. It hopes that other livestock industries will follow the pig industry's lead and develop similar plans and inititatives to raise health management standards and reduce disease levels at farm level.

Further Information

For more information on Farm Health Planning and the cattle initiative, please click here

5m Editor