Representatives of the swine, cattle and sheep industries work together on a cross-species FMD team

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Representatives of the swine, cattle and sheep industries work together on a cross-species FMD team


Don Wick


Cindy Cunningham, VP Communications, National Pork Board




Don Wick:  00:05  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 our guest this week is Cindy Cunningham, Assistant Vice President of the National Pork Board and Cindy also takes a lead on issues like crisis management. We are kicking off this week with meetings going on with the FMD cross-species team. Cindy, tell me tell me a little bit about this team itself.

Cindy Cunningham:  00:37  This group is brought together to look at and prepare for a potential foot in mouth disease outbreak in the U.S.. The group consists of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association representing the beef industry, the National Pork Board representing the pork industry, the American sheep industry representing the sheep industry, as well as the Dairy Management Industry group representing the dairy industry. These teams combined together to look at their species specific crisis plans, but also to bring together an overall industry plan that could be put into place should we have Foot and Mouth disease, as that would impact all of our species groups when it comes to FMD.

Don Wick:  01:19  Cindy, why is it important that we work on a collaborative effort with pork, beef, dairy, sheep, everybody working together?

Cindy Cunningham:  01:27  Foot and Mouth disease is not a public health disease. It is a disease of cloven hooved animals. The point behind foot and mouth disease is it would be very severe and very damaging to our industries. The beef, dairy, pork ,and lamb industries. So by being able to work together, pool our resources, we are able to create preparedness materials and also in the event of a response we would be able to coordinate and work together so that we are advancing the cause for all of the livestock industries.

Don Wick:  01:59  So Cindy does this team meet throughout the year?

Cindy Cunningham:  02:03  The Foot and Mouth disease cross-species team meets in person annually, and meets monthly via phone or conference call. It’s really important for our specie, although we compete for the center of the plate and for protein with our consumers. It’s really important for our species groups to work together on issues that impact all of us.

Cindy Cunningham:  02:21  It helps us to be able to pool our resources. It helps us to be able to understand what each other each other species would be doing during a crisis situation. And it also helps us to do the best that we can on behalf of our producers and advance the cause of all of our individual species.

Don Wick:  02:41  Cindy Cunningham, a spokesperson with the National Pork Board.  We thank you for listening to this edition of Pork Pod. For more information on this topic or the Pork Checkoff itself, you can always visit