Contact: Cindy Cunningham
National Pork Board
(515) 223-2600

Survey: Producers Aware and Many Ready for Antibiotic Use Changes

INDIANAPOLIS – March 3, 2016 – In a recent survey, 82 percent of pig farmers say they are aware of the upcoming regulatory changes regarding on-farm antibiotic use. And of those surveyed, on average, 71 percent have a defined record-keeping protocol in place that they follow. That number grows to 83 percent among the country’s largest pork operations, or those that market more than 80,000 hogs per year.

“This level of awareness underscores the real and substantive changes occurring today on how pig farmers use antibiotics on the farm,” said National Pork Board President Derrick Sleezer, Cherokee, Iowa. “The high level of awareness of the changing regulation is encouraging, but not surprising. The U.S. pork industry is working hard to educate its pork producers about the upcoming deadline.”

Sleezer added that the Pork Checkoff has developed and is sharing many new materials with pig farmers to make certain packers, processors and foodservice and retail customers understand how seriously the pork Industry is taking the impending regulation changes.

In the past 18 months, the National Pork Board has taken steps to educate pork producers on the details of Food and Drug Administration guidance 209 and 213. The rules define how medically important feed-grade antibiotics should be used to treat, control and prevent disease, as well as the importance of farmers establishing a veterinarian-client-patient relationship. The guidance also mandates that medically important antibiotics can no longer be used to promote animal growth and sets a higher standard for on-farm record keeping. The regulatory changes take effect Jan. 1, 2017.

“Consumers can have confidence that the U.S. pork industry is doing the right thing in regard to antibiotic stewardship,” Sleezer said. “Understanding the role responsible antibiotic use plays on a farm is one of our top priorities and why we introduced the U.S. pork industry antibiotic stewardship plan in June.”

These results, among others designed to take the pulse of U.S. pork production, are from the annual survey of pork producers conducted by the National Pork Board late last year. In other findings, for the sixth consecutive year, pork producer support for the Pork Checkoff increased and is now at a record 90 percent – up 1 percent from last year. Meanwhile, opposition to the Checkoff declined one percent to a record low of just 4 percent. These results are the most positive in survey history.

Other highlights include:

“Marketing is always top of mind for producers, and it starts with building trust by educating consumers about pork’s safety and nutritional value,” Sleezer said. “Pig farmers want to see their investment at work to build U.S. consumer demand and take tangible steps to expand international trade.” In response to specific questions about the National Pork Board’s new strategic plan that was implemented early in 2015, the awareness and importance of each goal increased. On a 10-point scale:

The national survey, based on phone interviews with 550 producers, was conducted in November.

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