News from the National Pork Board
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Measuring Salmonella in transport and lairage to assess cross-contamination in pigs

Principal Investigator: D. L. Hank Harris, Iowa State University

Salmonella cross-contamination in pigs during transport and lairage has been shown to increase levels of salmonellae in tissues at slaughter. The objective of this study was to determine if a quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) assay could be used to rapidly determine the numbers of salmonellae present in lairage areas. The sensitivity of the qPCR was shown to be 10,000 colony-forming units of Salmonella organisms per gram of fecal matter; this means that this rapid and specific test is a useful tool for the industry. The study found a trend toward reduced, but not statistically significant, numbers of salmonellae in lairage pens associated with standard hygiene practices of washing pens between groups of swine. This reduction of salmonellae organisms in lairage pens may reduce transmission between groups and could result in fewer contaminated carcasses. It also allows one to determine if on-farm and transport sanitation methods are reducing Salmonella fecal incidence in lairage pens.

For more information about this and other Checkoff-funded research, go to Also, be sure to sign up for Research REVIEW, the bimonthly Checkoff research e-newsletter if you are not receiving it, by contacting Mike King at or 515-223-3532.

Checkoff offers drought resources

As the historic drought of 2012 expanded to cover the main grain-growing areas of the United States since last summer, the cost of pork production has gone up markedly. In light of this weather-driven event, Pork Checkoff has compiled some practical resources for producers to consider that may help ease this difficult situation, including areas such as feed alternatives, water conservation, manure application, pig management and marketing, and counseling services. View all of these resources at

For more information, contact Chris Hostetler at or 515-223-2606.

Pork makes Quality Assurance headlines

The pork industry’s commitment to the highest standards of animal care has earned a cover story in Quality Assurance magazine, and the message of safe, wholesome food production is resonating with food processors nationwide. “Food processors and pork producers share a common goal of quality assurance,” said John Johnson, president for strategic administration for the Pork Checkoff. “It was great to have two major articles in the July-August edition that showcased Pork Quality Assurance Plus and reinforced the pork industry’s ‘We Care message.” The cover story, “Iowa Select Farms and the National Pork Board: Science-based quality, safety, and welfare practices protect animals and consumers,” took readers inside the barns to learn more about daily life on a swine farm.

For more information, contact John Johnson at or 515-223-2765.

2012 Environmental Stewards announced

The Pork Checkoff, along with its co-sponsor, National Hog Farmer magazine, has selected four pork-production operations to be honored as the 2012 Pork Industry Environmental Stewards. The award, now in its 18th year, recognizes producers who demonstrate a firm commitment to safeguarding the environment and their local communities. This year’s award recipients are Future View Farm, Jeff and Sue Frey, Willow Street, Pennsylvania; Reed Family Farms, Ryan and Lana Reed, Ottumwa, Iowa; Trail’s End Sow Farm, Jeff Mencke, Ames, Oklahoma; and Dahl Family Farm, Wayne and Laura Dahl, Dawson, Minnesota. A video showing these farms can be viewed on

For more information, contact Mike King at or 515-223-3532.

Checkoff compiles influenza resources

Beginning with the cases of H3N2v last summer, the Checkoff has created a one-stop hub for influenza resources. These materials and updates provide the pork industry with a convenient way to keep abreast of recent flu news and relevant information. Some of these materials include the following fact sheets: Influenza Naming, Standardized Terminology, Vaccine Recommendations, Biosecurity Recommendations, and Influenza Surveillance in Pigs. Materials for swine exhibitors and pig demonstrations at fairs also are included.

For complete details and resources, visit If you have specific influenza-related questions, contact Jennifer Koeman at or 515-223-2633.

PQA Plus trainers/advisors recertification needed in 2013

With changes coming to enhance the Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA Plus) program, it is more important than ever for trainers and advisors alike to update their certification. State trainer recertification courses will be offered in March of 2013. All trainers must be recertified by June 2013, before the updated program is announced at World Pork Expo. Advisors are also encouraged to recertify on the new version of PQA Plus (April 2013 forward) by next June – this will not only increase your knowledge and understanding of the testing and online components of the program, but also will enable the producers you advise to recertify online. In turn, your work load and the time producers spend to recertify will decrease in the long run. More information on training dates will be available after the first of the year.

For more information, contact the Pork Checkoff Service Center at 800-456-7675 or

PQA Plus and TQA grant program offers reimbursement

The National Pork Board encourages you to work with your state producer association to best utilize the PQA Plus/TQA grant program, which provides monetary support for PQA Plus/TQA program delivery. These funds can be used to help cover your travel, time, and cost of support (meals, administration, etc), equipment rental, or purchase of any justifiable training expenses you may incur. Supporting documentation, such as training brochures, locations, etc, are required to receive grant funds. Please discuss the possibility of receiving grant funding with your state association.

For more information, contact Sharlotte Peterson at or 515-223-2614.