Pork PRODUCER PARTNERS SMactivities
Many AASP members have been involved in Pork Quality AssuranceSM activities from the program's inception in 1989. The PQA PartnerSM Program began in 1995 as a way to enlist the help of pork-allied industries in encouraging all United States pork producers to complete the Pork Quality Assurance Program. In April 1997, the AASP accepted a more structured role in promoting PQA by becoming a PQA Partner. In 1998, the PQA Partner Program has evolved into the Pork PRODUCER PARTNERSSM Program, which in addition to the Pork Quality Assurance Program supports and promotes the Environmental Assurance ProgramSM (EAP) as well as other learning opportunities for swine producers.
Most AASP members have a good understanding of the Pork Quality Assurance
Program but may not be as familiar with the EAP. A
Time/Mirror Magazine survey found that most Americans feel there can be balance between economic development and the environment, and they are most concerned about water issues. Eight-eight percent (88%) of the respondents felt that shortages of good drinking water and pollution of lakes, rivers, and streams were the most pressing environmental issues facing the United States today. Pork producers were also asked what they think are the two greatest national challenges the pork industry will face in the next three years. 'Environmental issues' was by far the most frequently chosen category (over 35% of respondents), followed by 'animal rights/welfare' and 'competing with big business/corporations' (12% of respondents).
Like the PQA Program, the EAP provides an opportunity for swine veterinarians to bring another value-added service to their clientele. Successful completion of EAP involves:
- an assessment of current environmental management techniques,
- a review of the impacts of manure management on water quality,
- learning ways to reduce manure management costs and increase manure nutrient utilization,
- exploring techniques for odor management,
- discussing 'environmentally sensitive' facility management,
- sharing ideas on pork production, and
- informing the general public about the pork industry's environmental assurance effort
(excerpted from the NPPC's Environmental Assurance Program manual, 1995 edition).
Veterinarians and other interested individuals can become EAP trainers by attending an EAP training session designed to familiarize them with the EAP educational material. Five EAP training sessions were conducted around the country in 1997 and more are planned for 1998. Contact Kellie McGuire at the National Pork Producers Council in Des Moines at 515-223-3536 for more information.
--contributed by Dr. Teddi Wolff, AASP Public Relations Committee