THE TBAS AWARDS 2021 – #ControltheControllable
The TB Advisory Service (TBAS) are delighted to introduce their inaugural awards for 2021.
We are championing the hard work and effort many farmers are doing to reduce the risk of a TB breakdown and the impact TB can have on farm businesses.
Over the last 3 years we have held meetings, attended shows, spoken at farming events for us to engage with farmers and vets in the concept of #ControlTheControllable.
TB is all to often seen as a Government issue, a disease which farmers and vets can have little influence over, here at TBAS our aim has been to change that mind set, to share the science and evidence around TB in order to encourage farmers to take some ownership and control back.
We are well aware that Government tell farmers and vets, when to test, what to test and more importantly what you can and can’t do with your business if reactors are found. TB is a notifiable disease and there are fixed rules we have to follow in order to prevent TB getting worse and becoming a greater public health issue. These rules are also vital for our national and international trade. Unfortunately, the historical inability to control the rising badger population, where it is recycling disease has also led to a despondency amongst farmers and vets, that TB is out of control and out of their control.
BUT we are big believers just because there are things you can’t control; such as your neighbour’s cattle purchasing behaviour, or the amount of compensation your receive, this shouldn’t prevent farmers and vets doing what is within their power and ability to control.
The TB Advisory Service offers free visits and one to one advise either face to face, via email, or over the phone for cattle keepers in the High Risk and Edge Areas of England. We focus on what farmers can do to reduce the risk from a TB breakdown by managing what and where they buy from, thinking about the risk neighbouring cattle pose, and reducing the risk from badger to cattle and vice versa, by managing access to cattle feed and water both in the farm yard and at pasture. We accept you can’t eliminate risk, but by knowing a seller’s herd TB history before purchasing and why that’s important, preventing badger access to water troughs (TB bacteria can live for up to 60d in water) and not using mineral licks on the ground, for example, you can massively reduce risk.
We can also reduce the risk a TB breakdown can have on a farm business. We can help build TB resilience into a farm business. We discuss planning for the worst; what would you do with all the calves you normally sell under 42days? Would you be able to feed and keep them, or would you be better off selling them into an approved finishing unit (AFU)? Could you become an AFU? This would ensure if your business is fattening cattle, you can keep functioning even if you have a TB reactor. Would your farm have somewhere suitable for an isolation unit, these are especially useful for block calving herds. Many farmers we have carried our TBAS visits for have felt reassured they are doing all they can within their power to reduce TB risk and feel less anxious about their TB test as even if the worst happens they have a plan.
This willingness to #ControlTheControllable to go above and beyond what government asks of farmers is exactly what we want to show off with our awards! All to often, especially in the national media farmers are criticised for not doing what they can to prevent TB, apparently all they want to do is shoot badgers. We want to show everyone that this is not the case and farmers as always are rising to the challenge, being resourceful, innovative and eager to embrace change for the better, future proofing their businesses.
To nominate please email info@TBAS.org.uk with TBAS awards nomination in the subject.
Or visit our website to complete an entry form www.TBAS.org.uk
You can either self-nominate or nominate a farmers or advisor and complete the entry form yourself, or nominate a farmer or advisor via email with contact details for us to send them an entry form to complete.
Arla Foods is a global dairy company and co-operative owned by dairy farmers 2,500 of whom are British. Arla products are sold under the well-known brands Arla, Lurpak and Castello in more than 100 countries. Arla Foods UK is the largest dairy company in the country and is home to leading dairy brands Anchor, Arla Cravendale, and Arla Lactofree. As well as being a leading supplier of fresh milk, number one in butter, spreads and cream, Arla is the UK’s largest cheese manufacturer.
Suckler beef production is the flagship of the British beef industry, with the second largest breeding herd in Europe and the dominant UK supply of prime beef under 30 months. Just as nature intended, dedicated beef cows suckle their calves for 6 to 9 months on carbon capturing pastures with the very minimal of antibiotic use. Championing the UK’s natural system of beef production, SBPA sets out to differentiate suckler beef, to add value and increase awareness in all sectors of the British beef industry.
SellMyLivestock is an online marketplace with over 75,000 users in the UK! They trade more livestock than the 10 largest “bricks and mortar” markets in the UK combined. Health and welfare are a focus for SellMyLivestock, including TB. SellMyLivestock are committed to providing as much data on each animal as possible including the current TB status and history of the holding
The NFU is the most successful representation body for agriculture and horticulture in England and Wales.
We are here to give you a voice and protect your way of life now and in the future. Our purpose is to champion British agriculture and horticulture, to campaign for a stable and sustainable future for British farmers and to secure the best possible deal for our members.
VetPartners supports a large number of the UK’s leading farm veterinary practices in delivering outstanding care. Together, our focus is on providing an excellent service to farmers and enhancing the health, welfare, and productivity of their livestock. Our ethos is centred around being true partners, investing in people and infrastructure, whilst listening to customers and evolving with their needs.
Stuart farms 400 hectares in Hertfordshire and Kent in partnership with his wife Emma and father Howard. A third generation arable and livestock farmer Stuart has also worked for Defra and the Food Standards Agency and held senior management roles within the meat supply chain. Stuart was elected to the post of NFU Deputy President after serving two years as Vice President. Stuart is the current chairman of the NFU’s TB Policy Advisory Group, being instrumental in championing an evidence-based TB eradication strategy.
James, a veterinary epidemiologist, is a professor and Head of Cambridge Vet School. He conducts multidisciplinary research on infectious diseases and is interested in infectious disease emergence, including from wildlife. His work is mostly focussed on bovine TB (including in Ethiopia and India) and viruses in African fruit bats. James was a member of the Godfray review working group.
“I am very excited to be a judge for the TBAS awards as I believes that the relationship between vets and farmers, as promoted by TBAS, is central to the successful control of bTB in England and Wales.”
Nikki Hopkins is the president of the British Cattle Veterinary Association. She has worked in a variety of farm vet roles and volunteered extensively overseas. She now works predominately with beef suckler herds back home in Mid Wales and has been with the BCVA board since 2012. She is passionate about maintaining high standards of cattle health and welfare in the UK.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing the entries for these awards. As farm vets we all see how devastating TB can be on the farms we work with – and we also see how much impact the TBAS advisors can have on the outcomes for farms who benefit from their support and recommendations. It’s an example of how collaboration between the veterinary profession and farming industry is essential in our attempts to control this disease.”
Andy is an ecologist and research scientist with ten years’ experience working on badgers and bovine TB. he is the bTB project manager for the National Trust, coordinating badger vaccination projects and measures to control disease on National Trust land. He also continues to work part time for Exeter University and APHA on research projects related bovine TB and methods of disease control in wildlife.
“TBAS performs a valuable service providing vital information and advice to help farmers control TB. I am proud to be part of the advisory team at TBAS and jumped at the opportunity to be a judge for the TBAS awards recognising the great work that farmers and vets are doing across the country.”