June 12, 2017
US pork producers prepare plan to cope with foreign animal diseases
The National Pork Board (NPB) is devising a Secure Pork Supply Plan to help America's pig farmers respond quickly and successfully to any foreign animal disease (FAD).
The plan, it said, will enhance communication and coordination of all pork chain segments to help producers keep their farms operating and all related business activities functioning.
"We're thankful that our country has not experienced a disease such as foot-and-mouth (FMD) since 1929", said Terry O'Neel, National Pork Board president.
"However, if we get the news that FMD, African swine fever or another foreign animal disease has arrived, the Secure Pork Supply Plan will pay big dividends by getting pork production back to normal much faster", he explained.
The NBP cited an Iowa State University study that estimates the potential revenue losses to US pork and beef industries from an FMD outbreak at $12.8 billion per year or $128 billion over a 10-year period.
Related losses to corn and soybean markets over a decade would be $44 billion and $24.9 billion, respectively, it added.
The Secure Pork Supply Plan will provide procedures that are feasible should an FAD strike, said veterinarian Patrick Webb, director of swine health programs for the Pork Checkoff. These would include the safe movement of animals from farms in an FAD control area to harvest channels or to other production sites if the pigs have no evidence of disease.
"The Secure Pork Supply Plan will provide business continuity to producers who enroll prior to an outbreak, which will allow them to be back in business faster than those who do not participate," Webb said.
The Plan includes such measures as implementing sound biosecurity, using premises identification tags, keeping detailed production records and maintaining all necessary health papers and certificates.
O'Neel said that as a pork producer, he wanted to be ready when it's time to sign up as a participant in the Secure Pork Supply programme. "Let's all prepare by ramping up our farms' biosecurity measures and other steps so we'll be ready to go", he urged fellow farmers.
The Secure Pork Supply Plan is a collaboration among the US Department of Agriculture, the NPB, the National Pork Producers Council, the American Association of Swine Veterinarians and academia, as well as other state and federal partners.