National Pork Board Director of Swine Health programs, Dr. Patrick Webb, is featured in this edition of Pork Pod. We learn about the importance of business continuity, especially if a foreign animal disease like classical African swine fever or Foot and Mouth Disease is identified. New digital tools are on the horizon and you’ll learn more about that in this update.
Patrick Webb, Director of Swine Health Programs, National Pork Board
Don Wick: 00:01 From the Pork Checkoff in Des Moines, Iowa, it’s Pork Pod. Pork Pod, a look at the hot topics in today’s pork industry. The Pork Checkoff is working for you through various forms of research, promotion, and consumer information projects. This is Don Wick speaking on behalf of the Pork Checkoff and today our guest is Dr. Patrick Webb, director of Swine Health programs for the National Pork Board and we’re focused on the Secure Pork Supply plan, a business continuity effort. Patrick, certainly not a new topic. Tell us where we stand.
Patrick Webb: 00:28 Uh, in the world of emergency response, you’ve got things to do or you need to stop movement and stop disease from spreading. But the cardinal sin is not having a plan for getting movement started again. And that’s what Secure Pork Supply is all about. The producers locked up at a stop movement and in disease control area and they don’t have the disease. You know, what’s the, what are the things that they would need to do to demonstrate that there are different. That’s what Secure Pork Supply does, is it gives that differentiation and the data and information to the state veterinarian who can then make a better risk based decision on permitting that person to move for their pigs either moving to the next phase of production or to harvest.
Don Wick: 01:06 So premises ID is the first step in that whole process?
Patrick Webb: 01:08 Sure is, you know, um, pork industry strongly supportive of the national prem ID number and that’s a good thing. Um, and producers had been registering their premise a premises for over 13, 14 years now. One of the challenges that we have though is that sometimes that prem ID wasn’t associated to the exact location where the pigs are. So we are asking producers right now, A) if you don’t have a prem ID, get with the state vet office and register and get a prem. Make sure that prem is exactly, you know where those animals are. Or if you have a set of premises ID numbers, make sure that they’re right where the animals are. If it’s your house instead of the barn a mile down the road, then you need to work with your state in order to get that changed. You have to have the location of those animals. Think of it as your 911 address for your pigs. You want it right where the pigs are.
Don Wick: 01:53 So if you’ve got multiple sites, those kind of things, they all should be having the different ID number?
Patrick Webb: 01:58 Certainly it’s up to the state veterinarian is to what they define as a premises ID number or not the number, excuse me in what they define as a premises. Um, but the general rule of thumb that I use is if the site’s a quarter mile away from another site, you probably ought to have a separate prim. Part of the reason is, um, let’s say I decide my state would allow me to make my whole flow, my sow farms, my grower finisher, all one prem ID. Well, if I have a disease issue on my finisher and they’re going to quarantine that prem, they’re quarantining that prem ID, well, I’ve got other things wrapped up in it. So just from the standpoint of emergency response, again, think of it like the 911 address, if you’ve got three houses that are a mile apart from one another, you don’t want the fire department showing up at the one house and your fires at the other one because you only had one 911 number. You need individual site premises ID numbers if they’re more than about a quarter mile apart.
Don Wick: 02:50 So obviously there’s some advancements on the, on the, on the ways, in fact, moving really into a whole digital spectrum.
Patrick Webb: 02:57 You know, that’s one of the areas that I think we can take advantage of the technologies of today to benefit not only our producers but our state animal health officials who are going to be the ones that are going to try to help us during an outbreak. Part of the deal is that when a state veterinarian draws a control area, they need to know what’s going on. They need to get some operational intelligence about what’s going on in that area and they need to know where the farms are, who to talk to on those farms, what type of animals are on the farms, um, where they’ve been moving, where they need to move next, what level of biosecurity at that, you know, what’s their disease status. All of those things take time. Well, we can compress time if we actually utilize technology. Producers in the past were only really sharing information about their herds at a level that would allow them to get a health paper to move across state lines, you know, when you’re for production purposes. Um, and so, you know, sharing premises information, movement information, demographics of the farm and the number of, head the type of production, um, your past movements for whatever period of time the state vet wants, if you’re a part of the surveillance program and the testing data that it comes from that, we can utilize technology now to basically get that stuff into a database and then actually out through a dashboard to be visualized by the state vet. Take that data and turn it into something visual that will help them make better risk based decisions as well as make them faster.
Don Wick: 04:22 Do you get any concerns about confidentiality when you have that information out there?
Patrick Webb: 04:26 Um, there’s always the issue of confidentiality. We are working with commercial software company right now and we have state of the art system as well as state of the art security, for what’s being developed. Um, the other thing that makes this system, once it’s ready to roll, we are calling it Swine Business and Continuity System and Dashboard or a database and dashboard. The one thing that, that makes it unique is that it’s a producer permission sharing of data. So producers would voluntarily put it in the system and then producers are the end all be all for how that information is shared. And so the state vet would have to make a request to see that information.
Don Wick: 05:03 We said right from the beginning, it’s a business continuity plan. If we want to keep, uh, keep moving those hogs, this was something that we really need to be thinking about.
Patrick Webb: 05:12 Certainly, an overall preparedness for our industry is an important deal. Um, and like I said earlier that there’s kind of a continuum of emergency response, you know, you’ve got let’s control the disease by stop movements and different mechanisms. But let’s get, you know, those people that are okay moving again. And so, uh, what we really need to do is make sure that producers are, have looked at the part of the stop movement stuff that they need to consider. And that’s in our foreign animal disease facts sheet that we’ve got developed that they can get at the National Pork Board at our Pork Store. But they also really need to look at the business continuity site too and go to securepork.org. Go through, uh, the producer tab there, see what it takes to be able to get ready to enroll in the program when our database system is up and running. And that will be February of next year in 2019. Then that can start the enrollment process for all of the work that the producers did on the front end to prepare. And that’s what we really want them to do, the more people that are participating, the greater benefit, not only to the producer, but to the industry. If we have a good idea, if we have, let’s say, a high percentage of people in the industry in the Secure Pork Supply plan using the database and dashboard, we’ve got a powerful set of data that we can not only use with our state animal health officials are federal animal health officials, but even with our trading partners. You know, those things can help differentiate our pork production systems so we can get back into even trade and commerce quicker. So it’s super important that producers, you know, jumped behind the program and get involved.
Don Wick: 06:41 Patrick Webb from the National Pork Board. Thanks to you for listening to this addition of Pork Pod. For more information on this topic or the Pork Checkoff itself, visit pork.org.