TCFA members take their responsibility seriously to produce a safe and secure beef supply for consumers across the U.S. and the world. On a daily basis, every effort is made by feedyard managers and employees to implement top-notch animal health programs. As part of the animal health program, feedyard employees inspect every steer and heifer to maintain a healthy herd and to monitor cattle for any signs or symptoms of an unusual disease. At any time when a feedyard employee needs additional expertise, a consulting veterinarian is brought into the discussion to assist with the diagnosis, and, if need be, samples may be collected by the veterinarian for analysis at a veterinary medical diagnostic laboratory.
Feedyards also implement physical security and administrative procedures to help prevent the entry of unknown persons into the feedyard. All outside visitors are required to sign in at the office and record their name, company, vehicle license number and other information, depending on the feedyard’s site-specific requirements. Signs are typically posted at the gate, which direct all visitors to the office. In addition, feedyards maintain a perimeter fence and close/lock gates at night. A night watchman works throughout the evening and night hours to monitor the premises, receive and unload feeder cattle and to ensure that cattle water systems are operational.
In addition to the day-to-day activities at feedyards, TCFA works with federal, state, regional and local emergency management personnel to further improve plans and procedures that are in place to protect the cattle feeding industry from natural or man-made disasters. One example of this planning focuses on foreign animal disease response, mitigation and business continuity for all segments of the industry. To enhance these efforts, the Department of Homeland Security conducted an assessment of the Texas cattle feeding industry in 2010 and is providing assistance to TCFA and its members through the development of new biosecurity plans and procedures; foreign animal disease response planning; and plans for business continuity — to recover as quickly as possible from a foreign animal disease outbreak.