The National Pork Board and USDA are working to create a Secure Pork Supply plan to help lower the disruption to producers and the marketplace if a foreign animal disease (FAD) event occurs. The plan is intended to help pig farmers prepare and quickly respond if an FAD occurs, and is similar to plans in development for other livestock and poultry producers.
“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, during the 2017 World Pork Expo. “Pork producers are known for being innovative leaders, and through this work, the Pork Checkoff is taking a leadership role in being prepared.”
The plan enhances communication and coordination of all pork chain segments to help producers keep their farms operating and all related business activities functioning. Currently that plan is being made into producer workbooks that will be available early 2018.
“We’re thankful our country has not experienced a disease such as foot-and-mouth (FMD) since 1929,” said Terry O’Neel, National Pork Board president. “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.”
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, according to a study by Iowa State University. Related losses to corn and soybean markets over a decade would be $44 billion and $24.9 billion, respectively. Read FMD: What’s at Stake.
The main benefit from the Secure Pork Supply plan is producers in the program would be able to quickly respond with appropriate biosecurity protocols. Basics of the plan would include implementing sound biosecurity protocols, using premise identification tags, keeping detailed production records and maintaining all necessary health papers and certificates. Producers would also understand 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.
“It’s going to change the way you do business on the front end,” says Patrick Webb, veterinarian and director of swine health programs for the Pork Checkoff.
But the result will be a quicker return to business as usual, he says.
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.