News and stories

Portable footwear cleaning system wins biosecurity award


13 November 2018

A portable cleaning system has been a winner at this year’s New Zealand Biosecurity Awards.

The Jacson Cube®, a standalone system for effectively cleaning and disinfecting footwear was awarded the New Zealand Biosecurity Mondiale Innovation Award.

The Innovation Award recognised the Jacson Cube® as a product that helped to solve a problem which is extremely important to New Zealand’s biosecurity.

The Waikato-based entrepreneurs who invented the product, Rusty Knutson and Jacqui Humm described the feeling of winning the award as “absolutely huge”.

“This award validates that there is a place for professional purpose-built tools, which make practicing biosecurity faster, more effective and more behaviourally sustainable over the longer term,” Jacqui said.

The journey to create the Jacson Cube® started a couple of years ago with a “there must be a better way” moment.

Rusty was working in a short-term contract inspecting and buying calves when he realised New Zealand farmers were still leaving themselves exposed to significant business and emotional risks related to biosecurity.

“On more than one farm, I witnessed significant stress and losses in revenues for the farmers concerned as they struggled to restrict the spread of even common diseases, such as Rotavirus and Cryptosporidium, between their mobs of animals.

“And while we were attempting to thoroughly clean and disinfect our boots as we entered and left each property, it was difficult and awkward to do this with your basic bucket, brush and spray bottle combo.

“We recognise that cleaned and disinfected boots are just one element of an adequate biosecurity plan. But it’s a start that will hopefully draw attention to the fact that it is critical for everyone to take responsibility to ensure they are not spreading weeds and disease vectors on and between farms, because when they do spread, they are incredibly costly,” Rusty said.

Though still in its early days, feedback from industry and customers about The Jacson Cube® has been positive.

“Best practice must be easy to adopt, fast to execute, safe to use and easy to maintain or it won’t prevail long-term,” Rusty said.

Both Rusty and Jacqui hope The Jacson Cube® will encourage normalisation of wider biosecurity actions among landowners and their visitors, as they come to realise that good biosecurity practice is an everyday part of business practice - and that with the right tools, it’s easy to do.

Find out more about the awards.