Secure Pork Supply Helps Producers Prepare For Disease Outbreak

Biosecure Area
( National Pork Board and the Pork Checkoff )

African Swine Fever, Classical Swine Fever, and Foot and Mouth Disease are the biggest trade-limiting diseases to the U.S. pork industry, says Patrick Webb, director of swine health programs for the National Pork Board. Best efforts are underway to keep these foreign animal diseases outside of the United States. But if these diseases are found in U.S. livestock, regulatory officials will instantly limit the movement of animals and animal products to try and control the spread.

The Secure Pork Supply (SPS) Plan is a business continuity plan that is available to help support business continuity in the event of a foreign animal disease, Webb says. The plan is accessible at www.securepork.org, providing information and details for how producers can implement the program standards on their production site.

Prepare For The Worst

“This voluntary program focuses on pre-outbreak preparedness,” Webb says. “It’s based on current capabilities and provides guidelines only – officials have final approval.”
SPS is designed to support pig movements from premises located in disease control areas that are affected by stop movements, but not infected by the disease.

Webb says the first component of the plan is pre-harvest traceability. 

“The cornerstone of the plan is having a valid PIN (premises ID) for each site,” Webb says. “It’s important that the PIN is the location where animals are actually housed.”

In addition, producers are encouraged to maintain up-to-date movement records in an easily accessible, electronic format.  

Boost Biosecurity Practices

Webb says biosecurity is another important component of SPS. He emphasized four concepts of the plan:
1.    Designate a biosecurity manager.
2.    Create a written, site-specific biosecurity plan.
3.    Define a perimeter buffer area.
4.    Establish a defined line of separation. 

“Part of the program includes a Biosecurity Self-Assessment Checklist,” he adds. “These checklists are designed to help people understand what needs to be implemented on the site specific to biosecurity – from manure management practices to vehicle and equipment practices. The plan helps producers make sure they are addressing all of the biosecurity standards.”

Webb encourages producers to create a Site Specific Biosecurity Plan that explains how the site meets all biosecurity measures in the checklist. Although it requires more time and resources, he says this step is very important to the process. 

Plan Surveillance Underway

During an outbreak, sample collection and testing will be very important, Webb says. The plan addresses surveillance practices, recommending observations by accredited vets prior to loading any animals for transport and daily observation and documentation by trained herd health monitors.

Webb recommends that designated individuals on each production site should be trained to collect oral fluid and nasal swab samples. These individuals should periodically practice sample collection and keep collection supplies on the premises at all times. 

Sample collection and testing training will be made available for the industry to utilize, Webb says. Educational materials are available in English and Spanish on the SPS website at www.securepork.org.

Information Sharing In Real Time

Currently, the swine industry does not have a formal plan or a standardized way to deliver producer data across states. Webb says the disparity in types of databases used by state vets and USDA to manage FAD outbreaks can slow data acquisition, management and sharing.

The National Pork Board is funding a solution to this problem though the development of AgView, a database and dashboard system that allows producers voluntarily participating in the SPS plan to share data in a rapid, efficient and secure way with animal health officials, Webb says.

Maryn Ptaschinski, veterinarian with Texas A&M University’s Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases, says data sharing is the bottleneck in a disease outbreak. 

“It’s the piece that slows things down.” Ptaschinski says. “When the state vet asks for data, it takes so much time to analyze because information is not shared in a consistent format.”

AgView CVI is available at www.agview.com. However, the health reports and the dashboard won’t be released until spring.  

“When you put them all in the same place, you end up with some pretty powerful analytics,” Ptaschinski says.
 

 
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