Checkoff Builds Momentum for Secure Pork Supply Plan

by Mike King

Plan to minimize business disruptions from a foreign animal disease

secure pork fmd graphicWhen it comes to the possibility of a foreign animal disease (FAD) outbreak or other major threat, the pork industry is taking a page from the Boy Scouts to “be prepared” with the continued development of the Secure Pork Supply plan for swine business continuity.

“The U.S. has not experienced a disease such as foot-and-mouth (FMD) since 1929,” said National Pork Board President Terry O’Neel, Friend, Nebraska. “But if FMD, African swine fever or another FAD hits, the plan will pay big dividends by helping production get back to normal faster.”

The Pork Board, as part of USDA’s Secure Food Supply framework, helped create the plan. The board invested Pork Checkoff funds to develop education and is now focusing on implementation.

“USDA funding is specific to plan development, but there are areas the industry needs to fund to take it to the next level” said Patrick Webb, DVM, director of swine health programs for the Pork Checkoff. “For example, the Checkoff is developing a digital dashboard so producers can provide real-time access to data that state veterinarians will need to make decisions to allow pig movement.”

When implemented, the plan will facilitate safe movement of pigs with no evidence of disease from farms in a FAD control area to harvest channels or to other farms. Data required by the plan will help state veterinarians better understand what is going on in a control area during an outbreak.

“That will be critical for participating producers who need to move pigs,” Webb said. “While producer participation will be voluntary, that’s a strong reason to enroll.”

As the Checkoff works toward implementation, producers can take steps that will dovetail with the plan.

“The Checkoff’s FAD checklist offers key tips on what producers can do now to help the industry be prepared,” O’Neel said. “I encourage everyone to take a look at it.”

The Secure Pork Supply plan is the result of ongoing collaboration between USDA, the National Pork Board, the National Pork Producers Council, the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, academia and other state and federal partners.