Pork Checkoff LogoNews from the National Pork Board
H1N1 influenza

The heightened alertness of the industry, customers, media, and the public to the 2009 A/H1N1 influenza outbreak has started to subside at the time this text is being written. The National Pork Checkoff Board, however, does not consider its role in educating these key audiences finished.

The Pork Checkoff’s activities have been varied, from working with industry groups and agencies to correctly name the virus believed to be responsible for the outbreak, to helping industry recognize the importance of keeping the virus out of US swine herds, to facilitating dialogue between the animal-health and public-health stakeholders. A summary of these activities can be found in the spring issue of the Pork Checkoff’s quarterly magazine, Pork Checkoff Report. The magazine is available online at http://www.pork.org/NewsAndInformation/News/docs/PorkCheckoffReportSummer09.pdf.

The Pork Checkoff updates its producer recommendations on biosecurity with the latest information. These recommendations have been widely distributed by e-mail, US mail, and in print during the 2009 World Pork Expo, and continue to be updated and available on http://www.pork.org.

Swine exhibitions and influenza

A working group of people involved in swine exhibitions has put together a document titled “Recommendations for Risk Management at Swine Exhibitions and for Show Pigs.” Facilitated by staff of the Pork Checkoff, input was sought from various audiences including public health, veterinary medicine, regulatory veterinary medicine, influenza researchers, and commercial pork producers. The purpose of these recommendations is to reduce the risk of interspecies transmission of the 2009 A/H1N1 virus through swine exhibitions.

The document is available on the AASV’s Web site at http://aasv.org/public/SwineExhibitRecommendations.doc.

PRRS and pork quality call for research proposals open

On June 8, the National Pork Checkoff Board announced its summer request for proposals in the topics of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) and pork quality. Proposals are due July 7. The research objectives for the PRRS call focuses on immunology, epidemiology-ecology, and diagnostic capabilities and utilization.

Details on these priorities can be found online at http://www.pork.org/PorkScience/RFPs.aspx. More information on the PRRS call for proposals can be requested from Lisa Becton by e-mail at lbecton@pork.org or by phone at 515-223-2791.

The research priority of the pork quality call for research proposals focuses on the development or implementation of technologies to improve the tenderness of fresh pork. Research proposals should focus on real-time measurement of fresh pork tenderness at all stages of the pork production chain that translate directly into improved tenderness of fresh pork at retail.

More information on the pork quality call for proposals can be requested from Mark Boggess by e-mail at mboggess@pork.org or by phone at 515-223-2606.

Proposal selection will take place in late August and notification of grant awards to coordinators of research-proposal applicants will happen in September. Project funding will begin November 1.

For more information on the National Pork Checkoff Board’s research activities and calls for research proposals, visit the Pork Checkoff Web site at www.pork.org.

Swine handling and transport forum

Over 200 people attended the Swine Handling and Transport Forum sponsored by the Pork Checkoff, National Hog Farmer magazine, the National Pork Producers Council, NutriDense, Newsham Choice Genetics, Pfizer Animal Health, and Farm Credit Services of America on June 2. The audience was made up of pork producers, swine handlers and transporters, veterinarians, and transport-vehicle suppliers, with information presented regarding the management of pigs before, during, and after transport. The forum placed a strong emphasis on animal well-being.

Notes from the presentations delivered at the forum are available online on the Pork Checkoff’s Web site at www.pork.org.

PQA Plus update

Steve Weaver, president of the National Pork Checkoff Board, announced that the 15-person board of directors steering the activities and programs funded by the Pork Checkoff is strongly recommending that all US pork producers participate in the pork industry’s “We Care” initiative, abide by the Pork Industry’s “Statement of Ethical Principles,” and fully participate in PQA Plus.

In his statement, delivered during the World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa, Weaver said that the board is advocating for producers to become certified in the Pork Quality Assurance Plus program by June 30, 2010, and to achieve PQA Plus site status by December 31, 2010. Additionally, stated Weaver, producers should comply with the ethical principles the industry adopted in 2008. In May, the number of PQA Plus-certified pork producers reached 30,000. Meanwhile, the program’s specifications have been updated to allow youth 14 years of age or older to be certified in PQA Plus. Previously, the minimum required age was 18.

More information on PQA Plus can be found online at www.pork.org.