Consider the term “biosecurity” and what do you think of? People running around in hazmat suits conducting chemical warfare on some dreaded disease?

In its most extreme, that is biosecurity. The reality, however, is that implementing a biosecurity plan for your ranch isn’t difficult.

Biosecurity describes any management program designed to prevent or minimize disease, or prevent and control pathogens harmful to the health and welfare of your herd, says Bob Sager, veterinarian at the University of Missouri’s (MU) Clydesdale Teaching Hospital.

So, because you sat in on a Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) presentation and have a vaccination program, you’re biosecure, right? It’s a start, says Jeff Ondrak, beef cattle clinical veterinarian at the University of Nebraska’s Great Plains Veterinary Educational Center in Clay Center.

“BQA puts people into the thought process of looking at what can go wrong and taking steps to avoid that happening,” Ondrak says. “But, especially as it relates to preconditioning and weaning, think about what kind of diseases are important in your area, then make specific plans to prevent them.”

He suggests thinking about biosecurity in two ways – biosecurity and biocontainment. “Biosecurity is preventing the introduction of an infectious disease into an operation; biocontainment is preventing the spread of disease within the herd.”

The steps you take to accomplish each of those, however, are generally the same.