Tools for Farmers: Wildlife and Domestic Animals

Find Wildlife and Domestic Animals Produce Safety Rule standards here.

Identifying the risks

Wild and domestic animals carry human pathogens including pathogenic or disease causing types of E. coli in deer and cattle and Salmonella in birds, rodents, and poultry.  Both farmers and regulatory agencies are aware that you cannot completely control where wild animals go on your farm, there are things you can do to deter them.  You can have more control over domestic animals—both farm animals and pets.


Keep in mind that the Produce Safety Rule recognizes that wildlife habitats and vegetation/buffer zones at the edges of fields may actually contribute to reducing food safety risks.  The regulation does not require covered farms to take measures to EXCLUDE animals from produce fields, destroy habitat or clear farm borders. Generally, the Rule is stating that you should assess for signs of intrusion and contamination and that you must address potential contamination. Practices that deter wildlife are beneficial, but FSMA does not override any county, state, and federal laws, including the Endangered Species Act, that protect certain animals and habits. The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) had information regarding nuisance wildlife here, including the deer crop damage permit program. 


To assess your farm for food safety risks from wild and domestic animals, begin by considering the following:

YES I need to work
on this
1. Are farm surface water sources (ponds, streams, rivers) protected from wild and domestic animals using fences or other deterrents?
2. Are cull piles located far from production areas or post-harvest areas so that they do not attract wild animals?
3. Are production fields protected from wild and domestic animals using fencing or other deterrents?
4. Are pets kept away from production fields and irrigation water sources, especially during the growing/harvest season?
5. Do you have nearby or animal farms or manure storage facilities that could serve as a source of contamination?
6. If you have animals on your farm, are workers trained regarding reducing risks by adhering to policies re: clean clothes, boots, hands as job location changes?
7. Is your manure pile protected from wild and domestic animals?

If you answer any of these questions with “I need to work on this”, then you should consider ways to reduce food safety risks by working towards a “YES” answer.

What the Rule requires

Training and practice

  1. Assess your fields, surface water sources, manure or compost piles and outdoor packing areas for the presence of wild animals, including deer, geese, birds, rodents, etc.
  2. Identify and implement procedures and practices to minimize the effects of animal intrusion, including deterrents, fencing, and reducing the presence of harborage sites such as cull piles.
  3. Keep pets out of production areas or use training or other practices to minimize impact on product.
  4. If you have farm animals, contain them so that they are not able to impact production areas and water sources.
  5. Train workers who work with farm animals to understand the food safety implications of cross contamination from animal areas to produce production areas: train them to change boots, wash hands, change clothes and/or other practices that minimize the risk.
  6. Train workers to understand the food safety implications of wild animal intrusion into production areas:  train them to report when they see evidence of animal intrusion.

Go to the Training Page for more information specifically training related to wildlife and domestic animals on the produce farm.

What you might want to do in addition to the Rule

The Rule does not require documentation or record keeping related to wildlife and domestic animal practices.  It might be a good idea to document reports of animal intrusion so that you will have a record that documents trends. This will help with decision making regarding planting, harvest and determining the best practices for minimizing intrusion.
Develop written SOPs and use them to train employees and to standardize practices on the farm.  Include SOPs for reporting animal intrusion and for practices that minimize contamination from workers going form animal operations to produce operations.

Sample record keeping forms and SOPs for wildlife and domestic animals
Record keeping (not required by PSR)

Wildlife log


Worker Training to Identify, Report, and Respond to Animal Activity and Fecal Contamination in Produce Production Areas

Sample SOP: Managing Wildlife and Domestic Animal Intrusion and Contamination

Tools for reducing risks from wild and domestic animals

General information 


Birds and rodents

Rodent and Bird Control:  MI State


Deer Control Options, ATTRA