Goal 2: Drive Sustainable Production
The National Pork Board will invest in research and producer education programs that enhance pork productivity and sustainability of pork production and deliver benefits to producers, their communities and consumers.
Checkoff Invests in Swine Health Research
The Pork Checkoff funds research and develops information and tools that pork producers can use for continual improvement in the area of swine health. In 2016, projects included:
- The Swine Health Committee funded research focusing on development of several novel vaccine delivery systems for influenza A virus and the development of novel diagnostic tests for arthritis in pigs.
- Completion of three joint research calls by the National Pork Board and the Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases (CEEZAD), a Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence, resulted in the funding of 10 producer-selected foreign animal disease research projects. The projects totaled $1,033,086 at a 50-50 cost share, saving $516,543 in Checkoff dollars.
- The Swine Health Committee funded five PRRS research proposals including the development of a mobile Nanopore sequencing device to detect and genotype the PRRS virus. The committee assisted the AASV PRRS Task Force in the continued development of a draft framework document for a National PRRS Elimination project.
- Regular sentinel-system calls brought together veterinarians and diagnostic laboratory personnel to develop an early-warning system for new, unusual or emerging disease issues of concern for pork producers.
Secure Pork Supply Work Continues
Preparing for and controlling a foreign animal disease (FAD) outbreak is a top priority for the Pork Checkoff. The implementation of the Secure Pork Supply (SPS) plan is a key component in preparing for an outbreak.
The SPS provides producers and the pork industry with the best opportunity to maintain business continuity when commerce is disrupted by disease control measures. Having the SPS plan implemented prior to an incident enhances coordination and communication among all parties and accelerates a successful FAD response.
In 2016, the SPS plan was revised based on lessons learned from the avian influenza outbreak. As that was underway, Checkoff-funded efforts at the Center for Food Security and Public Health developed FAD awareness and biosecurity performance standards and facilitated planning for packers and processors.
Producer-specific SPS education pieces also were developed in preparation for implementation efforts in 2017.
Checkoff Research Studies Pain Management in Neonatal Pigs
Pain management as it relates to the piglet processing procedures of castration, tail-docking, teeth clipping and ear-notching, is a Pork Checkoff research priority. In 2016, a Checkoff-funded study evaluated the transmammary delivery of Firocoxib in sows to alleviate pain associated with piglet processing.
Scholarships Develop Future Pork Industry Leaders
The pork industry scholarship program awarded 22 scholarships to students in 10 states. The program awards scholarships to students who plan to pursue a career in the swine industry or are pursuing a graduate or veterinary degree with an emphasis in the pork industry. About 80 percent of previous pork industry scholarship winners have pursued advanced degrees as they prepared to serve the industry as veterinarians, nutritionists, reproductive biologists and management consultants.
Swine Health Information Center Funding Continues
The Pork Checkoff continues to fund the Swine Health Information Center (SHIC). The Center focuses on implementing industry preparedness for emerging disease challenges that pose a risk to U.S. swine herds.
Improving Employee Safety
To improve farm worker safety, the Pork Checkoff debuted a revised Employee Safety Toolkit. The kit addresses the hands-on, visual learning styles of barn workers. Its six units focus on preparedness, movement, environment, hazards, tools and equipment. More than 30 production systems are using the toolkit.