Pork Checkoff Announces Secure Pork Supply Plan

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Dr. Patrick Webb and Terry O’Neel discuss secure pork supply plan at the 2017 World Pork Expo


Don Wick


Terry O’Nee, President, National Pork Board

Dr. Patrick Webb, Director of Swine Health Programs, National Pork Board




Don Wick:  00:04  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 we recap a news conference that took place during World Pork Expo.   The National Pork Board announcing the Secure Pork Supply Plan.  A news conference took place on the first day of Expo. We’re going to give you a taste of that news conference, including comments from the new President of the National Pork Board, Terry O’Neel.

Terry O’Neel:  00:36  A few things that strike fear into a pork producer’s heart faster than discussion of foot and mouth disease, and what it means not only to my farm, but also to the entire pork industry. Fortunately, we have not had FMD in the US since 1929. But recently economic research shows us that it could devastate our industry. Iowa State University economist Dermott Hayes estimates revenue losses to just the U.S. and pork industries from FMD outbreak at $12.8 billion per year and $128 billion over a 10 year period. So it would be very devastating.  Over that same 10 year period, the corn and soybeans industries, which we all depend on in these Midwestern states, are estimated to lose, or would be estimated lose $44 billion and $24.9 billion respectively in an FMD outbreak. The National Pork Board is working diligently on prevention, detection, response and recovery from all foreign animal diseases, with special work in the areas of FMD, Classical Swine Fever, and African Swine Fever.   A Secure Pork Plan is being developed to enhance communication and coordination,  accelerate a successful FAD response and support continuity of operations for pork producers.  And we just worked on that yesterday in our board meeting.

The goal of the Secure Pork Supply Plan is to develop procedures that pork producers, processors, and federal and state officials all agree are feasible to allow for safe movement of animals from farms in an FAD control area to harvest channels or other production sites,  as long as they have no evidence of the disease.  Foundationally,  the Secure Pork Supply Plan is a business continuity plan that producers are able to enroll and prior to an outbreak and we encourage this. This will allow them to be back in business faster than those who do not participate.  As a pork producer, I know that I want to be ready when it’s time to sign up as a participant in a Secure Pork Supply.  In the meantime let’s all prepare by ramping up our farms so we’ll all be ready to go. The Pork Board is taking a leadership role in preparedness. This is another  collaborative effort between National Pork Producers Council, National Pork Board, American Association of Swine Veterinarians, and state and federal officials.

Don Wick:  03:25  Next up comments from Dr. Patrick Webb. Webb is the Director of Swine Health programs for the National Pork Board.

Patrick Webb:  03:31  Let’s get into the details. First off, I want to give you some information on basic emergency response and what’s important, because there’s things today that pork producers can do to prepare for the implementation of the Secure Pork Supply Plan.   And I want to highlight kind of what’s going to happen and kind of give you a flavor for how an outbreak could unfold.  So if we got Foot and Mouth disease or Classical Swine Fever or African Swine Fever here in the United States, who’s in charge?  People that are in charge are your state animal health officials, in conjunction with USDA’s Animal Health officials.   The pork producers are going to play a supportive role.   And so that’s our preparedness point, is being able to prepare to play that role to support our Animal Health officials in trying to contain and eradicate a foreign animal disease, and also focus on continuity of business. First thing that happens, you’ve got to zone the area.  You set up a control area. This is an infected zone and a buffer zone. Producers that are found in these particular areas will undergo the most restrictive disease control measures, which could be stopped movements, quarantine of the site. It’s important for producers to understand that they have a certain role in those situations of complying with the regulations that are in place.  These zones are important because it’s a tool that state animal health officials use in order to stop the disease from spreading outside of the zone.

So what is the producer role in preparedness?   Well, if you change your mindset and you change your practices. you’re going to go and change your preparedness level to actually be ready to respond if we do get an outbreak. We have a resource here, it’s a checklist that I’ll talk a little bit about throughout the talk here. But first things are things that we already do.  Foreign animal disease awareness.  This is an important component for our producers and their employees, to make sure that they know what they’re looking for and how to report those diseases.   Disease prevention, our biosecurity, our industry is known for strong biosecurity. That’s important. Those resources, as you know, can be found in our Pork Quality Assurance program, along with our web site. All of those types of resources have been out there and available.  But we also have now certain biosecurity and awareness education materials at SecurePork.org.  Where the rubber hits the road though, where we have our biggest gap, is how we share data. Producers are only used to sharing the limited amount of data that they need to conduct their business in order for moving pigs to make wholesome pork for our consumers.   And in our world,  the Premises ID number, the national number, is really key to our level of preparedness. The first thing that the state animal health officials are going to have to do in an outbreak is actually communicate with producers.  In order to do, that they need to know where you’re at.  Now we’ve got a strong commitment in our industry to premises registration. That provides the tools for the Animal Health officials to know where you are and be able to communicate with you.

But we can’t stop there. The state animal health officials are going to need a lot of data to analyze in order to make sure that they have the disease contained. Those assurances are vital because that’s when business continuity can start coming into play to make sure that you can move your pigs for production purposes if you’re in a disease control area. And so you need to take specific steps with your Premises ID Number to link data together. If you want to connect it, you’re going to have to put a Premises ID on it.   And so it doesn’t just stop at “I just registered my premises”,  but we need to make sure that we’re incorporating the Premises ID numbers in all of our movement records and production records. We need to make sure that we’re incorporating our Premises ID numbers with our diagnostic laboratory submission forms. We need to make sure that our Premises IDs are associated with our movement records, especially those going to harvest, on our bills of lading. All of that information, all of that data is vital to animal health officials. They need to see it. They need to be able to analyze it, because that’s how they’re going to determine that we’re going to be able to move our pigs. Another area that is vitally important, if you are in a Disease Control area and you’re not able to move your pigs, you are going to need to do some things on your farm in order to make sure that you’re taking care of your pigs’ welfare, as well as being prepared in the unfortunate event that you may have to have depopulation or disposal of your animals.   You need to do this planning on the front end.

And so I like to call it “plan, share and prepare”.   The planning part, you need to sit down within your system you need to have some frank conversations. What would we do if we couldn’t move our pigs? How would we maintain animal welfare?  What would we do if we had to do a humane euthanasia or depopulation? What if we had to do a temporary or full time disposal plan on our site? How would we do that?  Where would we get our resources?   How do we get that approved? Those are absolutely vital parts of planning that you need to have frank conversations with in your system and on your farms with your employees about.  Once you have a good idea of how you’d handle it, share it. That’s what the animal health officials are for, the state vets, your state animal health officials are vital. So once you have a plan, share your plan.  Get their input.  Modify the plan based off the input.  And then you need to prepare to implement. That means having more than just a plan. It means having the contracts in place if you’re going to have to do composting, where are you going to get your resources?  If you’re going to have to put teams together, where are your teams coming from? Who’s doing the work? If you follow those three components then, you’re going to be sitting in a very, very good spot as far as your preparedness for just the general response.

Don Wick:  09:43  You can find out more about the Secure Supply Plan at pork dot org. We thank you for listening to this edition of Pork Pod  For more information on this topic or the Pork Checkoff itself, visit pork.org.