Farmers whose herds are at risk of bovine TB will be able to access expert help on protecting their animals through a new Defra-funded advisory scheme, launched at the Dairy Show in Somerset today.
The service was announced as part of the government’s updated TB eradication strategy in August.
NFU President Meurig Raymond said then: “The advice will provide farmers with information to help them improve the effectiveness of the biosecurity measures they implement on their farms.”
The Defra initiative will provide both on-farm and phone or email advice to farmers in High Risk and Edge Areas of England with trained consultants providing knowledge to help prevent the spread of bTB based on the biosecurity five-point plan.
A helpline will offer advice to farmers on limiting risks, while visits will provide clear, practical advice to help protect herds and, if needed, manage the impacts of a TB breakdown on a farm.
Defra says provider, Origin Group, will offer 2,400 visits to farms in the South West, South East and West Midlands, from Cornwall to Derbyshire, over the next three years.
Farmers wanting to register an interest should call 01306 779410 or email aW5mb0B0YmFzLm9yZy51aw==.
Chief Veterinary Officer Nigel Gibbens said: “Bovine TB is one of the greatest animal health threats in the UK and has a devastating impact on our farmers.
“As part of our comprehensive long-term plan to eradicate the disease, I am delighted to announce that from today, farmers will be able to access even more help and support via the new bTB Advisory Service.
“Alongside the existing TB Hub, The bTB Advisory Service will help arm our farmers with the knowledge they need to prevent this devastating disease spreading - a vital weapon in our fight to protect the UK’s herds and our farmers’ futures.”
The biosecurity five-point plan can help farmers protect their herds and those of their neighbours:
- Restrict contact between badgers and cattle
- Manage cattle feed and water
- Stop infected cattle entering the herd
- Reduce risk from neighbouring herds
- Minimise infection from cattle manure