News from the National Pork Board

National Animal Identification System

Pork CheckoffBeing able to track a sick animal's originating farm and movements within 48 hours is the main purpose of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). In cases of foreign animal disease introduction or agro-terrorism, being able to respond rapidly can make the difference between containment of a disease and devastation of an entire industry.

The NAIS is sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Each producer group is required to propose science-based standards for its species. In the case of swine, standards are being developed by the Pork Industry Identification Working Group, a group representing pork producers, livestock markets, packers, and other allied industries.

To date, the Pork Industry Identification Working Group has reviewed existing federal and state regulations, including interstate commerce directives (eg, the Identification of Swine in Interstate Commerce regulation) and packer guidelines (eg, the Packers and Stockyards Act) that require methods for identification of pigs and recording of pig movement.

Concurrently, the USDA has launched the first phase of the NAIS, in which producers can voluntarily register their premises or farm location with their state agriculture agency to obtain a unique Premises Identification number (PIN). Markets, fairs, and clinics will also be registering for PINs. As of July 27, 2005, forty-nine states were operational to offer PINs to requesting entities. Over 91,000 premises have received their unique identification number to date.

Premises registration is critical to being able to map and contain an outbreak. Premises, including veterinary clinics that house livestock, are registered through state health officials. A contact name, farm address, contact phone number, and species raised are required to register. Premises registration numbers are maintained at the state level.

For information on how to register your premises, visit the National Animal Identification System's web site at Links and contact information for state health agencies that can provide the service are found therein.

The second phase of the project will involve animal identification. It is for this phase that the Pork Industry Identification Working Group has prepared its proposal. Their objective is to create a species-specific and science-based standard for identification of pigs that is producer-friendly, fulfils the requirements of NAIS, and does not represent added production costs to the industry. Their findings indicate that our industry already keeps business and production records that can be used or adapted to fulfil the NAIS mission.

The working group has specific recommendations on when swine can be identified by group or lot, rather than individually. For swine that are not eligible for group or lot identification, individual animal identification numbers may be used. Individual animal identification numbers will be centrally managed to avoid duplication.

The third stage of NAIS involves recording all swine movement. Success would be achieved if a suspect animal arriving at a packing plant could be traced back through marketing channels to its farm of origin with 48 hours. Presently, all interstate movements of swine are being reported on a state level.

Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome International Symposium in December

The 2005 Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) International Symposium, hosted by the NC-229 PRRS committee, will take place on December 3, 2005, at the Sheraton Westport Hotel and Lakeside Chalet in St Louis, Missouri, immediately before the Annual Conference of Research Workers in Animal Diseases. The NC-229 is an organization composed of researchers from 13 research and academic institutions, including land-grant universities that have organized to focus, facilitate, and coordinate research on the PRRS virus.

Topics that will be discussed include the PRRS viral genome; diagnostic testing; immune response in the host; and PRRS virus ecology, epidemiology, and elimination. For more information on the 2005 PRRS International Symposium, visit

National Pork Board research cycle for 2006

The deadline for proposals or pre-proposals for research funding is December 14, 2005. Received research proposals in the areas of animal science, animal welfare, environment, and pork safety will be reviewed by producer committees and, if approved, funded with a contract start date of May 1, 2006.

All calls for proposals and information required to apply for funding are posted on the Pork Checkoff's web site, at