By Mike King
It’s full steam ahead for the nation’s Secure Pork Supply (SPS) plan. Work continues toward completing the necessary business continuity software that will share real-time industry data with animal health officials when every second will count during a foreign animal disease (FAD) outbreak.
Emergencies and Everyday
“We’ve made solid progress on the SPS plan,” said Patrick Webb, a veterinarian and director of swine health and information for the Pork Checkoff. “We have a great team working on the database and software needed to create a valuable tool that will aid the industry not only during a potential FAD outbreak, but will have ‘peace time’ applications, too.”
According to Webb, the software and its associated dashboards will deliver data in a unique and practical way to allow users to make management decisions more quickly because of the ability to display data that is easily digestible. This will be invaluable in the face of a FAD outbreak where movement of low-risk pigs and a return to normal business will be of utmost importance.
The business continuity software will allow users to share information and track any disease, so it doesn’t have to be relegated to foot-and-mouth disease, classical swine fever, or African swine fever.
“While it’s certainly the threat posed by FADs that is driving the SPS plan and software development, we’re pleased that the system will be useful for more everyday disease-monitoring purposes,” Webb said. “This can serve as a great tool to help producers and their veterinarians make better disease management and production decisions.”
The intent is to have the software developed in the first half of 2019, which is when producers can begin officially registering for the voluntary SPS program.
The SPS plan is the result of ongoing collaboration between USDA, the National Pork Board, the National Pork Producers Council, the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, academia and other state and federal partners.
Time to Prepare Now
Although full registration in the SPS plan isn’t available yet, Webb advises producers to not wait to prepare.
“If you really want to be ready for full SPS participation in 2019, now’s the time to act,” Webb said. “Take a critical look at your farm’s biosecurity measures and related management strategies so you’ll be ready to go.”
The Pork Checkoff fact sheet, Foreign Animal Disease Preparation Checklist, is a great resource to use in preparation for SPS enrollment. Producers also can go to the newly revised securepork.org for the most extensive resource for SPS. The comprehensive site is home base for things related to the SPS Plan.
“When the swine business continuity database and software becomes fully operational, its features and benefits will start to be more widely appreciated in everyday situations,” Webb said. “However, if and when we get the bad news of a FAD in this country, the full benefits of SPS will become very apparent, so the time to prepare is now.”