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

Higgins, V, Bryant, M ORCID: 0000-0002-0897-8092, Hernandez-Jover, M and McShane, C 2017 , 'Devolved responsibility and on-farm biosecurity: practices of biosecure farming care in livestock production' , Sociologia Ruralis, vol. 58, no. 1 , 20 - 39 , doi: 10.1111/soru.12155.

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International efforts to prevent the spread of biological threats to agro-food productionare increasingly being devolved from national governments to farming industries andfarmers. Previous research has highlighted the farm-level and institutional challenges inengaging farmers in biosecurity. However, little is known sociologically about whatfarmers already know and do to manage disease risk, and specifically how they practicebiosecurity. This article addresses this issue through the application of theoretical workon the choreography of care. Drawing from a qualitative study of biosecurity in the Australianbeef industry, we argue that farmers’ localised practices of caring for their herdhealth and farm are crucial in making biosecurity workable. These practices take twokey forms: skilled craftwork, through which farmers construct and hold together differentobjects and elements of care; and fluid engineering, which involves efforts to constructbarriers 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 nationallivestock biosecurity principles and practices. We argue that greater recognition oflocalised practices of biosecure care may provide the basis for engaging farmers moreeffectively in a devolved form of biosecurity governance.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Higgins, V and Bryant, M and Hernandez-Jover, M and McShane, C
Keywords: biosecurity governance, harmonisation, institutional logics, Australia, devolution of responsibility
Journal or Publication Title: Sociologia Ruralis
Publisher: Blackwell Publ Ltd
ISSN: 0038-0199
DOI / ID Number: 10.1111/soru.12155
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2016 The Authors

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