World Pork Expo News Conference-Part I

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During the World Pork Expo, the National Pork Board hosted a media conference and offered details on new Pork Checkoff initiatives. This is the first portion of that news conference. The Secure Pork Supply is one of the topics highlighted.


Don Wick


Steve Rommereim, President, NPB

Dave Pyburn, SVP Science & Technology, NPB




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 we recap the National Pork Board news conference that took place at World Pork Expo. We begin with the new President, Steve Rommereim of Alcester, South Dakota

Steve Rommereim: 00:28 Pork has always been part of me, part of my family, part of our heritage, I farm on a fifth generation farm, and we have raised pigs and so about the first day when those folks moved in and built Assad hot on the acreage that we currently live on. When I think about today’s pork industry, folks, I think about how we got to where we are. Specifically those who paved the path for us to be able to be the producers that we are today, adopting new technologies, providing safe pork to feed our country and all of those around the globe, all of which, while improving our carbon footprint a decade ago during a news conference here at World Pork Expo, a new initiative, We Care was introduced every individual throughout the pork supply chain as a role in building and maintaining trust in this industry, from facility owners to animal caretakers, to drivers who transport our hogs.

Steve Rommereim: 01:25 Everyone has a responsibility to do his or her part and demonstrate the commitment to responsible pork production. This begins with the pledge to uphold the core of ethical principles. These principles make clear the industry’s values in food safety, animal well being, worker safety, community outreach, and protection of both the environment and public health. It was designed first and foremost for producers to demonstrate the care they take everyday on their farms. Those efforts are summed up in our strategic plan and our strategic vision, which is focused on People, Pigs and the Planet. People produce safe, high quality food, ensure public health, contribute to a community’s quality of life, and to our employees safety. Pigs to protect and promote our animal’s well being and the Planet to safeguard our natural resources. Environmental Stewardship. The we care. Principles are a proactive, multifaceted effort to build trust and image in the pork industry. In 2018 we will reintroduce the story we began sharing with our producers a decade ago. And now I’d like to share with you how the Pork Checkoff drives consumer demand through sustainability, focusing on the secure pork supply, moving fresh pork domestically and marketing US pork beyond our borders. So starting off with that discussion, it’s my honor to introduce to you Dr David Pyburn who is the Vice President of Science and Technology for the National Pork Board. Dave.

Dave Pyburn: 03:02 Thank you Steve. Alright, let’s start with the bad news. At some point in time, our industry is going to have a foreign animal disease. It will come our turn. At some point, beef has had their bsc. eggs, had their avian influenza poultry has had, and again now is also experiencing exotic Newcastle disease. As bio secure as we are at some point we will have a foreign animal disease as much as we try to prevent it. So the secure pork supply is a plan and a program to better enable us to respond to when that does happen. We’ve got to be ready ahead and we need to be involved and producers need to be involved ahead of time. So what is secure pork supply? It’s a business continuity plan for producers in the face of a foreign animal disease. The state veterinarians as well as USDA are going to shut down movement of all swine and this is an appropriate stopping of movement of swine because when we first get either African swine fever, foot and mouth disease or classical swine fever, we won’t know how far it spread.

Dave Pyburn: 04:12 We won’t know where it’s at in the country, but we will know that we want to stop that spread immediately. The only way to do that is to stop all movement and then with that we have to have a plan to start movement again safely. How do we do that? We do that through the secure pork supply plan program, which we are putting into place right now. When we talked to producers, most producers say that when that stopped movement happens that they’ve got about a week’s worth of capacity that they can hold onto, after that week, it’s going to compromise animal wellbeing on the farm because we’re going to have crowding situations. We’re going to have situations where animals might need to move to bigger pens. We’re going to have situations where animals are getting too big and they need to move to market, so how do we get that started?

Dave Pyburn: 04:58 We do that with secure pork supply and what that does is secure pork supply delivers to those state animal health officials and USDA the information to be able to make an educated decision on low risk movement. As I said, in a foreign animal disease, everybody’s going to have a stop movement in the beginning, but there will be many, many farms, many more farms than those that are infected will actually be negative and we can safely move pigs from those farms to either to the next production site or onto market, but the only way to do that is to show the state animal health officials and USDA that that movement is indeed safe. I mentioned avian influenza at the outset, a avian influenza as we can remember here in Minnesota and Iowa just four or five years ago, stopped movement and all egg production here in Iowa and in Minnesota for a period of time.

Dave Pyburn: 05:46 How did they restart movement of those eggs where it was safe? They did it through their secure egg supply program. They were able to then get eggs back to moving more quickly. So what, what do we need to provide to the state animal health officials? What are we providing through the secure pork supply program? The four main things that they’re looking at, our animal movements both into and out of facilities to check for. Have you had contact with the facilities that are known to be positive? Is there a possibility that you brought disease onto the farm? Disease Surveillance, data disease surveillance data in the form of diagnostic lab testing data, but also disease surveillance data in the form of observational data. We’ve got skilled labor on all of our farms and they’re looking at pigs every day and when they do, they can tell when something’s just slightly off in those pigs that other folks can’t tell.

Dave Pyburn: 06:40 They can see disease coming before it actually manifest to where we’re going to see it, so the light observational data as a value to we need a way to deliver that to the regulatory officials. They’re going to ask for biosecurity standards and biosecurity data on the site. Is it possible that you have higher levels of biosecurity and you’ve kept disease off your site? They’re going to ask for records to show that. So what the secure pork supply program does is it provides guidance on how to establish this needed data for a production site and over and above that, something that the egg supply program did not have. It also will provide a dashboard and data dashboard to deliver this data to the veterinarian in an organized and quick fashion. When I talked to the state veterinarians involved with avian influenza outbreak, they talk about how yes, uh, this cure egg supply program was beneficial because those records were on the farm, but they were on the farm and they were on paper.

Dave Pyburn: 07:37 So they were, they were dealing with hand delivered paper, mailed paper, fax paper records, pretty slow to get movement started again. So what we’re doing in the pork industry that has been funded by our board this year is developing a data dashboard to be able to deliver that digitally, keep the records digitally delivered the records digitally. So it’s there in a split second and decisions can start to be made. Participation in the secure pork supplies, of course, voluntary. Um, but I encourage producers to get involved now get involved ahead of time when we have a foreign animal disease. There will be a rush to get involved because folks will need to move pigs again. But if you’re in a head and you’re already providing data to the state, a state veterinarian with your permission, of course only with your permission, if you’ve already got that relationship with your state veterinarian, if you’ve already got that premises id number so that you can be identified, your site can be identified, you will be ahead of the game and you will be the first ones that get to restart movement if it is safe to do so.

Dave Pyburn: 08:39 So I think the producers were to ask me today, what’s the thing that I can do right now to get started? The very first thing you need to do is get a premises id number, a national premise ID number. You can get this from your state animal health official. All of our sites that have pigs should have, we have, well more than 90 percent of our sites that are identified on the national premises ID numbers. But we need 100 percent to be identified, so that’s the first step. And then after that I would direct producers to go up to secure Take a look up to secure where we’ve got guidance, we’ve got forms, we’ve got training materials that are available for how to set up the secure pork supply on your farm participation. Then also, as I’ve mentioned, biosecurity a couple times, will also lead to increased biosecurity on your farm and that’s not a bad thing to have right now either.

Dave Pyburn: 09:30 We can all think back to four to five years ago with ped. Those of us that had it knows that it was devastating on the farm, probably wishes that we had increased our biosecurity before we got it. Same thing for foreign animal diseases, so biosecurity on the farm right now, improving our bio security in the farm is not a bad idea right now anyway, and it will help us with secure pork supply in response to a foreign animal disease. So for the producers out there, if you’re looking for information, how do I get involved? What’s this all about? How can I get more information? Our booth today has a brochure at it that details out this secure pork supply program and plan, and also we’ve got Please take a look at that and get involved.

Don Wick: 10:12 That’s part one of the national Pork Board news conference. We’ll have more in the next edition of Pork Pod. Thanks to you for listening to this addition of Pork Pod. For more information on this topic or the Pork Checkoff itself, visit