Pork Checkoff LogoNews from the National Pork Board
Checkoff ready to help producers, as sow packers to require premises ID tags in 2015

In an effort to improve pre-harvest traceability and improve national disease surveillance in the pork industry, many major US packers and processors will require a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)-approved, official premises identification number (PIN) tag as a condition of sale for breeding stock beginning January 1, 2015.

“This is a positive step for our industry as we continue to create a more robust surveillance and traceability system that can help protect our animals, our livelihoods, and our customers,” said National Pork Board President, Karen Richter, a producer from Montgomery, Minnesota. “That’s why I encourage any producers who may not already be using official PIN tags to register their premises and begin using the tags now.”

According to Dr Patrick Webb, Pork Checkoff’s director of swine health, the USDA-approved, official PIN tags for breeding swine are customizable with or without a management number and can be purchased in multiple colors.

“This allows producers to use the official tag in any color as a management tag or wait to apply the tag to sows and boars before leaving the production site to enter harvest channels,” Webb said.

Allflex USA, Inc (DFW Airport, Texas), Destron Fearing (South St Paul, Minnesota), and Y-Tex Corp (Cody, Wyoming) have USDA approval to manufacture official PIN swine tags. When ordering, producers must provide the nationally standardized PIN for the breeding farm. If the site does not have a PIN, the producer can register for one by going to www.pork.org/PINtag.

For more information, contact Patrick Webb at PWebb@pork.org or 515-223-3441.

Checkoff consolidates PEDV research information

To make it even easier for producers and others in the pork industry to find information about porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV), the Pork Checkoff has created a shortcut Web address at www.pork.org/pedv. This link directs users to the main page of Checkoff-funded PEDV research reports that are continually updated. Also, the pork.org home page quickly directs users to all PEDV Update newsletters or the research and resources pages.

For more information about Checkoff-funded PEDV research, contact Paul Sundberg at PSundberg@pork.org or 515-223-2764.

PQA Plus gains PAACO accreditation

As further validation of the Pork Checkoff’s PQA Plus program, the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO) has certified it as meeting their standards of promoting the humane treatment of animals. The organization uses a formal process to review and certify audits that meet board-established minimum standards for a welfare audit.

Sherrie Niekamp, Pork Checkoff’s director of animal welfare, said “The PAACO designation is significant because it shows the PQA Plus site assessment and verification have met the standards of a highly credible third party. It reinforces PQA Plus as an effective system for pork producers to maintain a high-quality pork supply.”

The latest version of PQA Plus also emphasizes the pork industry’s “We Care” ethical principles and incorporates components on protecting public health, safeguarding natural resources, and providing a safe work environment.

For more information, contact Sherrie Niekamp at SNiekamp@pork.org or 515-223-3533.

Checkoff launches PorkSquare to promote pork careers

PorkSquare, presented by the Pork Checkoff, is an interactive, social media-driven Web site (https://www.porksquare.com) that focuses on students interested in careers in the pork industry. The Web site is a “one-stop shop” for educational growth and job information regarding the pork industry. PorkSquare is a vehicle to build relationships for young professionals or industry leaders and to prospect internships, scholarships, mentoring programs, and events. Companies with a particular focus on the pork industry can create profiles that students can search and get a better sense of what a certain company has to offer. Building a company profile and adding internships, scholarships, events, and updates keeps potential young candidates in the loop of all the exciting things happening in the business.

For more information, contact Bryn Jensson at BJensson@pork.org or 515-223-2752.

Checkoff puts QR codes on pork labels

To meet the growing demand of consumers wanting to know where their food comes from, the Pork Checkoff is offering that information through quick response (QR) codes that link directly to production-related videos.

A mobile Web site was developed with four “We Care”-related videos. Consumers can click through and watch the videos, giving them the opportunity to know where their food is coming from and how dedicated the pork industry is to the quality of meat they share with their families. The videos include topics on swine nutrition, animal welfare, feed additives, and antibiotics. Coupled with a gift-card incentive, the numbers of scans by consumers has surpassed retailers’ expectations.

For more information, contact Jarrod Sutton at JSutton@pork.org or 515-223-2766.

Environmental Stewards winners exemplify “We care” ethics

The Pork Checkoff recently announced its Environmental Stewards winners for 2013. This year’s recipients are Russell Brothers LLC, Monticello, Iowa; Bacon Hill Farm, Dodge, Nebraska; Krikke Pork, Greenwich, Ohio; and Blue Mountain Farms, Milford, Utah.

“The forward-thinking 2013 stewards focus on innovative solutions and ideas on their farms,” said Lynn Harrison, chair of the Environmental Stewards Selection Subcommittee and former president of the National Pork Board. “From turning manure into fuel to operate farm vehicles to generating enough power to light up to 3000 homes, the 2013 stewards are putting their own stamp on raising high-quality pork for customers. And like other farms, they are doing it while adhering to the industry’s ‘We Care’ ethical principles.”

Applications for the 2014 Environmental Stewards Awards are now being accepted by the National Pork Board. For more information, contact Mike King at MKing@pork.org or 515-223-3532.