DES MOINES, Iowa — The National Pork Board, with major support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is creating a Secure Pork Supply plan to help America’s pig farmers respond quickly and successfully to a major threat, such as a foreign animal disease (FAD). The plan will enhance communication and coordination of all pork chain segments to help producers keep their farms operating and all related business activities functioning.
“We’re thankful that our country has not experienced a disease such as foot-and-mouth (FMD) since 1929,” said Terry O’Neel, National Pork Board president from Friend, Nebraska. “However, if we get the news that FMD, African swine fever or another foreign animal disease has arrived, the Secure Pork Supply plan will pay big dividends by getting pork production back to normal much faster.”
An Iowa State University study estimates potential revenue losses to U.S. pork and beef industries from an FMD outbreak would run $12.8 billion per year or $128 billion over a 10-year period. Related losses to corn and soybean markets over a decade would be $44 billion and $24.9 billion, respectively.
The Secure Pork Supply plan will provide procedures that pork producers, processors and federal/state agencies agree are feasible should an FAD strike, according to veterinarian Patrick Webb, director of swine health programs for the Pork Checkoff. This would include the safe movement of animals from farms in an FAD control area to harvest channels or to other production sites as long as the pigs have no evidence of disease.
“The Secure Pork Supply plan will provide business continuity to producers who enroll prior to an outbreak, which will allow them to be back in business faster than those who do not participate,” Webb said.
Basics of the plan that will help producer achieve this include implementing sound biosecurity, using premises identification tags, keeping detailed production records and maintaining all necessary health papers and certificates.
“As a pork producer, I want to be ready when it’s time to sign up as a participant in the Secure Pork Supply program,” O’Neel said. “In the meantime, let’s all prepare by ramping up our farms biosecurity measures and other steps so we’ll be ready to go.”
The Secure Pork Supply plan is the result of ongoing collaboration between the USDA, the National Pork Board, the National Pork Producers Council, the American Association of Swine Veterinarians and academia as well as other state and federal partners.
“The National Pork Board and our producer leaders believe that investing in the Secure Pork Supply Plan now will help the entire industry in the face of a future FAD outbreak,” said Bill Even, National Pork Board CEO. “Pork producers are known for being innovative leaders, and through this work, the Pork Checkoff is taking a leadership role in being prepared.”
The National Pork Board has responsibility for Checkoff-funded research, promotion and consumer information projects and for communicating with pork producers and the public. Through a legislative national Pork Checkoff, pork producers invest $0.40 for each $100 value of hogs sold. Importers of pork products contribute a like amount, based on a formula. The Pork Checkoff funds national and state programs in advertising, consumer information, retail and foodservice marketing, export market promotion, production improvement, science and technology, swine health, pork safety and sustainability and environmental management. For information on Checkoff-funded programs, pork producers can call the Pork Checkoff Service Center at (800) 456-7675 or check the Internet at pork.org.
— The National Pork Board
For more on pork, click here.