Devolved responsibility and on-farm biosecurity: practices of biosecure farming care in livestock production

Higgins, Vaughan, Bryant, Melanie, Hernández-Jover, Marta, Rast, Luzia, and McShane, Connar (2018) Devolved responsibility and on-farm biosecurity: practices of biosecure farming care in livestock production. Sociologia Ruralis, 58 (1). pp. 20-39.

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Abstract

International efforts to prevent the spread of biological threats to agro-food production are increasingly being devolved from national governments to farming industries and farmers. Previous research has highlighted the farm-level and institutional challenges in engaging farmers in biosecurity. However, little is known sociologically about what farmers already know and do to manage disease risk, and specifically how they practice biosecurity. This article addresses this issue through the application of theoretical work on the choreography of care. Drawing from a qualitative study of biosecurity in the Australian beef industry, we argue that farmers’ localised practices of caring for their herd health and farm are crucial in making biosecurity workable. These practices take two key forms: skilled craftwork, through which farmers construct and hold together different objects and elements of care; and fluid engineering, which involves efforts to construct barriers for separating on-farm practices of care from perceived off-farm disease risks. In engaging in these care practices, farmers make an important contribution to national livestock biosecurity principles and practices. We argue that greater recognition of localised practices of biosecure care may provide the basis for engaging farmers more effectively in a devolved form of biosecurity governance.

Item ID: 49922
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1467-9523
Funders: Australian Commonwealth Government
Date Deposited: 22 Aug 2017 04:15
FoR Codes: 07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0702 Animal Production > 070205 Animal Protection (Pests and Pathogens) @ 30%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1608 Sociology > 160804 Rural Sociology @ 60%
17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170199 Psychology not elsewhere classified @ 10%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9604 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species > 960403 Control of Animal Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species in Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland @ 100%
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