News from the National Pork Board

Working group meets to discuss antimicrobial
alternatives research

Producers, researchers, and swine vet-erinarians met in Des Moines, Iowa, to discuss antimicrobial uses and alternatives. The Non-Antimicrobial Production Enhancers (NAPES) working group focused on research as they considered the need to review the scientific literature and to ask for proposals in this pork safety area. This is the second meeting of this working group, which was formed to explore alternatives to antimicrobials for growth promotion. In the past 4 years, over $250,000 in checkoff funds has been used to research antimicrobial alternatives. Some of these alternatives included conjugated linoleic acid, oligosaccharides, bacteriophages, and probiotics. Results of the completed projects are available at in the "On-Farm Pork Safety" section. Checkoff funding is also being used to examine alternative production strategies.

The NAPES working group identified specific topics that need to be addressed. The group felt the need to focus on nursery pigs, the production phase for which antimicrobials seem to be most critical. They hope to develop a potential index system to evaluate expected response to treatment or need for product, and to identify potential new products for use by producers.

One of the first steps the NAPES group determined necessary was a critical review of the literature in the area of products that may be alternatives to antimicrobials. They concluded that a swine specialist should examine existing research and organize the information into classes of alternatives, priority of each class, product descriptions, demonstrated mechanisms of action, and other attributes of antimicrobial alternatives. A fact sheet for producers and veterinarians will be developed, addressing the questions that should be asked about alternative products prior to their use.

The NAPES working group also created a 'call for proposals' focusing on demonstration projects conducted with producers in real-world production facilities, with collaboration between universities and producers. The working group sees a need for projects involving different sizes and types of operations, product evaluation, management, pathogen load reduction, and other interventions. Results of each project must be presented and will be available to the public. Projects selected for funding will begin in August 2002.

National Pork Board expands with addition of new swine health expert

Dr Eric Neumann has joined the National Pork Board in the newly created position of Director of Swine Health Information and Research. Dr Neumann, who received his BS, DVM, and MS from the University of Illinois-Champaign, brings extensive swine veterinary experience to the organization. Prior to coming to the National Pork Board, Dr Neumann was Manager of Veterinary Services for Heartland Pork Enterprises in Alden, Iowa. His experience also includes owning a swine veterinary consulting service and working as a swine research specialist at the University of
Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine.

At the National Pork Board, Dr Neumann is responsible for the development and dissemination of current information and educational materials on key swine health issues. He also oversees the Science and Technology Department's swine health
research responsibilities. Contact Dr Neumann via e-mail at

Revised PRRS Compendium available soon

The National Pork Board's PRRS Compendium is being revised and will be available at the Leman Swine Conference in September 2002. This up-to-date version will be greatly expanded and at least twice the size of the previous edition.