News from the National Pork Board
New common industry audit platform announced

The National Pork Board (NPB) shared plans for a new common industry audit platform for pork producers, packers, and processors. The audit platform will use the existing Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA Plus) program as its foundation to serve as a common audit approach for the industry. The main goal of the common audit process is to assure consumers of the care taken by farmers and processors regarding animal well-being and food safety. The concept of a common audit was first introduced at the 2013 National Pork Industry Forum. The NPB then convened packers and pork producers to explore a credible and affordable solution for assuring animal well-being.

In 2011, the Pork Checkoff’s board of directors met with European counterparts who complained that audit programs in their countries were duplicative, costly, and inefficient. The new common platform announced at World Pork Expo seeks to create and standardize a common process that will

•  meet individual company and customer needs,

•  focus on outcome-based criteria that measure animal welfare,

•  provide clarity to producers with regard to audit standards and expectations,

•  minimize duplication and prevent over-sampling, and

•  ensure greater integrity of the audit process through consistent application.

The new framework has several components. These include a new audit tool, requirements for auditor training and biosecurity, and a platform that will allow the results to be shared to prevent duplicative audits. This tool is currently being tested on farms across the country and will be reviewed before finalizing the audit.

The Industry Audit Task Force includes producers and veterinarians representing the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, as well as packer representatives from Cargill, Farmland/Smithfield, Hatfield, Hormel, JBS, Seaboard, Triumph, and Tyson. The NPB cannot deploy the standards of the program without the direct involvement of packers and processors. Many packers have agreed to support the new common industry audit by promising to utilize the standard when conducting third-party audits.

For more information, contact Sherrie Webb at or 515-223-3533.

National Pork Board elects new officers

Dale Norton, a pork producer from Bronson, Michigan, was elected president of the National Pork Board at the organization’s June board meeting in Des Moines, Iowa. The National Pork Board comprises 15 farmer-directors representing America’s pig farmers.

“As a producer-director of the Pork Checkoff, I see so much opportunity in the year ahead,” Norton said. “There is great consumer interest in farming and understanding how food is raised and marketed. The Pork Checkoff is up for the challenges facing our industry, chief among them managing diseases like porcine epidemic diarrhea. Sharing our stories of success in research, education, and promotion will be a priority for me as we introduce our new 5-year strategic plan.”

Norton is a partner in Kendale Farm, Bronson, Michigan, which is primarily a 1450-sow farrow-to-wean operation that also finishes about a third of the pigs. He is involved with a cow-calf operation and raises corn, soybeans, hay, green beans, peppers for processing, and seed corn on more than 3500 acres. Nationally, he is serving his second 3-year term on the National Pork Board. He had served as the Pork Checkoff’s representative on the US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance and serves on the Swine Health Committee.

Serving with Norton as vice president is Brad Greenway, a pork producer from Mitchell, South Dakota. Derrick Sleezer, a pork producer from Cherokee, Iowa, will continue as treasurer. The three executive officers will serve 1-year terms in their positions beginning immediately.

“As we look forward to the next 5 years, our industry is excited to engage with food-service and retail leaders, as well as consumers, underscoring the versatile, nutritious product that we offer to shoppers in the United States and worldwide,” Norton said. “It’s important that producers continue to build trust and share our commitment with our customers.”

For more information, contact John Johnson at or 515-223-2765.

National Pork Board members approved

United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced three new appointments and two reappointments to the National Pork Board. Each member will serve a 3-year term. The new members were nominated by the National Pork Producers Delegate Body during Forum in Kansas City last March. The new members representing pork producers are Brett Kaysen, Nunn, Colorado; Steven Rommereim, Alcester, South Dakota; and Craig Rowles, Carroll, Iowa. Members reappointed to the board include Henry Moore, Clinton, North Carolina; and Glen Walters, Forsyth, Georgia.

For more information, contact John Johnson at or 515-223-2765.

USDA orders mandatory PEDV reporting for US pork producers

On June 5, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack issued a federal order requiring pork producers, veterinarians, and diagnostic laboratories to report positive occurrences of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV), porcine deltacoronavirus, (PDCoV), or other novel swine enteric coronaviruses that meet the case definition. If a sample is submitted to a National Animal Health Laboratory Network laboratory for testing and is found to be positive, duplicate reporting is not required. Reporting by producers or veterinarians must be directed to the state animal-health official or the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Assistant District Director located in the state in which the herd resides.

The USDA requires the following specific reporting information to be submitted:

•  Premises identification number (PIN) or an alternative premises location identifier (if you do not have a PIN, go to;

•  Date of sample collection;

•  Type of unit being sampled (eg, sow, nursery, finisher);

•  Test methods used to make the diagnosis; and

•  Diagnostic test results.

Additional details on compliance can be found on the USDA Web site or at

Pork Academy sessions online

In case you missed World Pork Expo last June, you can still view the 2014 Pork Academy sessions online. These include sessions on safe pig handling, industry productivity analysis, sow bridge-pork bridge, reproductive decision tree, world market economics and the importance of trade, PEDV research update, PEDV-lessons learned and next steps, sustainability in pork production, and pain management. To view the sessions online, go to and click Resources and then Conferences.

New Safe Pig Handling Tool introduced

The Checkoff’s new Safe Pig Handling Tool helps keep animal caretakers safe, including new workers who may not have a basic understanding of pig behavior and animal handling knowledge. Working with producers to identify key areas where guidance is needed, educational materials, including a video, photos, and handouts, were designed to help provide training in barns. Content from the Pork Quality Assurance Plus and Transport Quality Assurance programs were incorporated to create cohesive worker messages. The Safe Pig Handling materials reinforce safety concepts while depicting real-life, specific situations encountered daily in pork production. The materials can be used in one-on-one meetings, small groups, and self-study training sessions. For more information, go to

For more information, contact Sherrie Webb at or 515-223-3533. updated to engage visitors

The redesigned provides a comprehensive online resource on responsibly raising pigs. New features are designed to inform, engage, and inspire visitors while conveying the positive story of modern pork production. The Web site serves as a credible, authoritative resource for facts and information about responsible pig farming practices to food-chain customers and engaged consumers.

For more information, contact Angela Anderson at or 515-223-2623.