AASP Pork Producer Partnerssm activities

July and August, 1999

The Mahaska Veterinary Clinic is active in PQA Level III certification

The AASP salutes the Mahaska Veterinary Clinic, a five-doctor mixed practice located in Oskaloosa, Iowa as our Pork Producer Partner featured clinic. The Mahaska Veterinary Clinic PQA Partner Team includes Drs. J.D. Fiechtner (ISU 1990), T.J. Donohue (ISU 1979), and B.H. Huedepohl (ISU 1998). Dr. Fiechtner handles the majority of the swine work for the practice. The 201 PQA Level III pork producers certified by Dr. Fiechtner and his associates represent approximately 80-100 farms and 350,000 market hogs.

The Mahaska Veterinary Clinic held three large group meetings in the past year in cooperation with local extension offices, as well as numerous smaller group meetings. In addition, one-on-one discussion took place with the majority of producers. Before certifying a producer,
Dr. Fiechtner requires that a farm Pork Quality Assurance Plan and medication-use form be completed. Included in each farm PQA Plan is a detailed schedule for on-farm management procedures, plus vaccine and medication use. The Pork Quality Assurance program forms the basis for dealing with animal welfare situations in handling and moving swine, and also in discussions of prudent medication use.

Dr. Fiechtner feels strongly that the importance of PQA Level III certification lies in its guarantee to the consumer of wholesome, safe, and flavorful pork. He says he and his associates have been active in PQA activities to help keep their clientele competitive in pork production by minimizing their costs and improving their marketing clout. Most of Dr. Fiechtner's pork producers view PQA Level III certification as positive, and are excited about incorporating all the lessons of Pork Quality Assurance into their production systems. Dr. Fiechtner does think, however, that the recent marketing requirement by packers that producers be PQA Level III certified has decreased the prestige of PQA Level III status in a few of his producers' eyes. Instead of viewing PQA Level III certification as a valuable, yet voluntary, tool to improve their productivity, their primary motivation for certification now is gaining market access. Dr. Fiechtner concluded, however, that no matter what the rationale for becoming PQA Level III certified, adherence to the tenets of PQA will help ensure that pork producers provide consumers with the high quality pork product they expect.

Congratulations to Drs. Fiechtner, Donohue, and Huedepohl for their efforts in promoting Pork Quality Assurance.

--contributed by Dr. Teddi Wolff, AASP Public Relations Committee

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