News from the National Pork Board
Pork Checkoff funds PEDV research

Just weeks after porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) was confirmed in the United States, the National Pork Board approved $450,000 in Checkoff funds to help speed research into finding answers for producers and the entire industry. This amount, coupled with funds approved by the Iowa Pork Producers Association’s research committee, brought the total devoted PEDV research funding to $527,000 from the two producer-based organizations.

“The National Pork Board took this action to help get answers to US producers as quickly as possible to help protect their herds from this devastating disease,” said Conley Nelson, immediate past president of the National Pork Board and a producer from Algona, Iowa. “Because of the investment producers make as part of Checkoff, we’re able to respond quickly to sudden disease threats such as this.”

For more information about Checkoff-funded PEDV research, contact Lisa Becton at or 515-223-2791.

Checkoff works with AASV to provide PEDV information

While the work continues today, by early summer the Pork Checkoff had already held many conference calls, producer seminars, and podcasts and had started an e-mail- and online-based update to distribute information about porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV). Much of this was with hand-in-hand coordination with AASV, the USDA, and other industry groups and universities. Beyond this, the Checkoff has taken a series of additional steps in communications, education, and research coordination to find solutions to PEDV and potential implications.

To view the Checkoff’s PEDV Update, go to and click on News and Publications.

Help producers and employees become Professional Swine Managers

Can you help your producer clients take the next step? The Pork Checkoff has created the new Professional Swine Manager education program to jump-start the process. “The Pork Checkoff created a comprehensive work-study program for individuals to enhance and further develop their careers,” said Jim Lummus, Director of Producer Learning and Development for the Pork Checkoff. “The coursework is designed to prepare people to manage a sow farm, grow-finish units, or departments within each type of production system.”

The training combines classroom studies and hands-on learning. The courses, which qualify as credit towards an associate’s degree, are available nationwide and delivered online by community college instructors who are experienced in pork production. They emphasize the knowledge and basic science that support pork-production practices in place today.

Courses include Breeding Stock Management, Nursery and Finishing Management, Facility Maintenance, Swine Record Systems, Employer/Employee Issues, and Agribusiness Internship.

To learn how to become a Professional Swine Manager, visit, or contact the Pork Checkoff’s Bryn Jensson at or 515-223-2752.

PQA Plus revisions debut at World Pork Expo

Pork producers’ desire for continuous improvement in production practices and exceeding customers’ demands for quality assurance measures have spurred changes to the voluntary Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA Plus) program. Revisions to PQA Plus were announced during World Pork Expo 2013. A part of the pork industry’s We Care initiative, PQA Plus provides a framework for significant, relevant food-safety standards and improved animal well-being. PQA Plus has evolved since its introduction in 1989 with regular revisions and updates to increase its effectiveness, incorporate new research information, and ensure the program’s validity with customers. PQA Plus incorporates 10 Good Production Practices to align more closely with the We Care initiative principles. Revisions to PQA Plus were effective June 7. Farmers and other industry experts who have seen the revised program embrace the changes.

For more information about PQA Plus revisions, contact Dinah Peebles at or 515-223-2795.

Three new Checkoff tools offered

Environmental Footprint Calculator

A second-generation environmental-impact calculator is now available to producers. This new calculator expands the existing Live Swine Carbon Footprint Calculator by allowing producers to calculate their water footprint. The Pig Production Environmental Footprint Calculator version 2.0 is available by calling the Pork Checkoff Service Center at 800-456-7675.

National Swine Reproduction Guide

Just released by the US Pork Center of Excellence, the Swine Reproduction Guide is an analytical tool that provides producers with a decision tree for identifying breeding problems within gilts, sows, and boars. The Web-based guide will be available online through Iowa State University Extension and at

Sow Housing Calculator

A new Sow Housing Calculator will assist producers in making important decisions about remodeling or other facility or management choices on the farm. Created in the context of remodeling sow barns, the calculator also can be used to model the financial impact of any management or facility choices to a sow farm, including changes in nutrition, changes in herd size, and remodeling or housing-replacement choices. Once the data is added, the calculator generates a report of the needed cash-flow and cost-per-pig information that may be required by a lender. The Sow Housing Calculator is available free of charge to producers and can be found online at

For more information about these new tools, go to or call the Pork Checkoff Service Center at 800-456-7675.

National Pork Board announces new vice president of communications

The National Pork Board has named Kevin Waetke as vice president of strategic communications. Waetke recently served as external communications director for Aviva USA, moving to the National Pork Board on June 25. As vice president of strategic communications, Waetke will report to Chief Executive Officer Chris Novak and lead internal and external communications efforts. With other members of the board’s senior management team, Waetke will play a critical role in defining and leading communications strategy and delivering clear and consistent messages to pork producers, opinion leaders, consumers, and other key audiences.

Contact Kevin Waetke at or 515-223-2638.