News from the National Pork Board
International FMD outbreaks spur more US preparation

Pork Checkoff LogoWith recent outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in Asia, the chief veterinary officer from the United Nations Food Agricultural Organization has asked for increased global surveillance for the devastating disease. The Pork Checkoff is encouraging producers to elevate their awareness and to continue to follow proper biosecurity measures.

“Early detection of foreign animal diseases through surveillance is critical in providing the best opportunity to limit the negative effects of a foreign animal disease on the pork industry,” said veterinarian Patrick Webb, director of swine health programs for the Pork Checkoff. “With exports of US pork and pork products around 20% of production, it is in the best interest of all producers to remain vigilant,” Webb said. “Pork producers and swine veterinarians play an important role in knowing what to look for in a suspected case.”

A poster outlining the signs of FMD that producers should be on the lookout for is available through the Pork Store at “The key is that pork producers need to be on the alert in order to help keep the US swine herd safe,” Webb said.

For more information, contact Patrick Webb at 515-223-3441 or

New director of animal science added

Mark Knauer has joined the National Pork Board in Des Moines as director of animal science. He was most recently working in the Netherlands with the Institute for Pig Genetics. Knauer grew up on a small-scale, pure-line pig and cattle operation in southern Wisconsin near Avalon. He earned his BS in Agricultural Education and MS in Animal Science Breeding and Genetics at Iowa State University and his PhD in Animal Breeding and Genetics at North Carolina State University.

Contact Mark at 515-223-2606 or

New withdrawal times for tetracycline

International markets continue to provide a valuable outlet for US pork and pork products. For this reason, the federal government, along with Pork Checkoff, the US Meat Export Federation, National Pork Producers Council, the American Pork Export Trading Company, and others, work to ensure customers get a continuous supply of high-quality, safe pork.

A new trade agreement with Russia has triggered a new 14-day withdrawal period for all soluble and feed-grade tetracycline products to satisfy Russia’s tetracycline minimum residue limit. Your packer may require some type of verification to show this withdrawal period is being met. Although the new withdrawal period is to meet Russian import requirements, it is also the recommended guideline for all US pork exports. For more details, go to

For more information, contact Steve Larsen at 515-223-2754 or

Pork safety begins with feed safety

At the invitation of the American Feed Industry Association, Pork Checkoff’s Steve Larsen, director of pork safety, recently spoke to those attending the Third Global Feed and Food Conference held in Mexico. The meeting’s objective was to foster dialog on how to feed a growing, hungry world with safe and sufficient food at all times.

To explain that US pork producers and veterinarians are doing their part in protecting food safety, Larsen shared the specifics of the Pork Quality Assurance Plus program, with particular emphasis on feed safety, which is also known as Good Production Practice (GPP) #8 – Follow Appropriate On-Farm Feed and Commercial Feed Processor Procedures. Larsen also presented information on a Checkoff-sponsored feed survey about how producers handle on-farm feed processing and safety protocols and where they prefer to get related information. The study also gathered information on producer concerns in these areas.

For more information, contact Steve Larsen at 515-223-2754 or

PQA Plus certifications now in 48 states

At last count, more than 46,059 producers have received PQA Plus certification and more than 10,005 sites had been assessed. There is at least one PQA Plus-certified producer in every state except Vermont and Rhode Island. Also, more than 27,501 youth (ages 8 to 19) were certified in the Youth PQA Plus program, which promotes continuous improvement in production practices.

How can you help get even more producers certified in PQA Plus and have their sites assessed? If you have an interest and have not already become certified as a PQA Plus advisor, do so by contacting a state trainer. For information on locating a state trainer or for a list of advisor training dates, go to or contact Pork Checkoff at 800-456-7675. For more information, contact Stacy Revels at 515-223-2795 or

PQA Plus revisions complete

Over the last 2 years, PQA Plus participants and industry experts have provided feedback to the Good Production Practices (GPPs) in the areas of animal care and food safety. As a result, the existing program has been enhanced, and new materials with the label “Version 1.2” are available now.

Specific updates in Version 1.2

Within GPP #3 – Use Antibiotics Responsibly. Specific guidelines will address issues for pork producers concerning antibiotic use in pigs. These same guidelines are covered in the Take Care program and are being rolled into the PQA Plus content.

Within GPP #9 – Develop, Implement and Document an Animal Caretaker Training Program. New content will assist pork producers in communicating important on-farm procedures when working at a production site and includes techniques for effectively training others and resources for documenting training sessions.

Within GPP #10 – Provide Proper Swine Care to Improve Swine Well-Being. Certain animal handling practices from a separate, transportation-specific training program, Transport Quality Assurance, are being added concerning procedures to use when handling and moving hogs.

For more information, contact Stacy Revels at 515-223-2795 or