News From The NPPC

New Director of Pork Safety

Michele Senne has joined the NPPC as Director of Pork Safety. Michele has a Masters from Kansas State University, and will be working part time while she completes her PhD in food microbiology at Oklahoma State University.

National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) Swine 2000 Meeting

Dr. Fred Cunningham and Dr. Don Davidson, members of the AASP and the NPPC Swine Health Committee, and Dr. Dave Pyburn of the NPPC, attended a meeting at the USDA Center for Epidemiology and Animal Health in Fort Collins, Colorado, to address the content and objectives of the NAHMS 2000 Swine Study. NAHMS is a non-regulatory program designed to meet the needs of various livestock and poultry groups for animal health information at the national level.

NAHMS surveyed the pork industry in 1990 and 1995. The 2000 survey will seek information on swine respiratory pathogens, potential foodborne pathogens of pork, antibiotic use, and environmental issues, and will restock the National Veterinary Service Laboratory swine serum bank. This serum bank allows the industry to research the history of new disease agents and emerging diseases. This has proved a very valuable tool in PRRS research.

NPPC Pork Physical Hazards Summit

Representatives of the packing industry, metal detector and needle manufacturing industries, and the NPPC's Pork Safety Committee, attended a Pork Physical Hazards Summit in St. Louis, Missouri, and heard presentations about how and why the issue of broken needles and other physical hazards in pork products must be addressed. They spent the afternoon drafting action items for implementation by each of the stakeholders.

Since then, the draft action items have been distributed to the participants for their review. As a result of the Summit, a major needle manufacturer has offered nancial support for development and distribution of educational material on needle use for pork producers and their veterinarians. The pork industry continues to work with the stakeholders to develop a coordinated response to the issue of broken needles and other physical hazards in pork products.

Agricultural Bioterrorism

Several NPPC staff attended an agricultural bioterrorism brieng at the Des Moines, Iowa ofce on April 3rd. Dr. Norm Steele, of the Agricultural Research Service, and a representative from the Department of Defense, provided an overview of the U.S. concerns regarding animal health bioterrorism. The NPPC staff also provided an update on the animal health emergency management activities it is participating in with United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Veterinary Biologics

Vaccines and other biological products are important tools for preventing disease and maintaining a high level of production. The USDA:APHIS Center for Veterinary Biologics (CVB) is the government agency responsible for reviewing the safety and efcacy of vaccines and biologics before approval and marketing. Dr. Sundberg attended the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Veterinary Biologics Public Meeting at Iowa State University April 3rd and 4th. Presentation and discussion topics included the current state and future strategies of the USDA:APHIS:CVB. The CVB issues and updates, international trade and harmonization in biologics, animal use in testing, and labeling policy and approaches.

National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA) Annual Meeting

The annual NIAA meeting (formerly the Livestock Conservation Institute) was held in Corpus Christi, Texas, April 10-13. Attending the general sessions, seminar sessions, and committee meetings were ve representatives of the Swine Health Committee: Jon Caspers, Iowa; Jim Lewis, Minnesota; Jim Leafstedt, South Dakota; Jim Ledger, Iowa; and Jim Stocker, North Carolina. Three staff members, Drs. Lautner, Pyburn, and Sundberg, also attended. Dr. Lautner provided an overview of the pork industry's approach to regionalization for swine diseases in the Animal Health and Trade Interest Group, moderated by Jon Caspers, NPPC Swine Health Committee Chair. An update on emergency management activities was given in the Animal Health Emergency Management seminar session. In the Emerging Diseases Committee meeting, Dr. Lautner, the Vice-Chair, discussed the importance to the pork industry of emerging disease detection and response. Dr. Sundberg presented an update on swine identication to the Identication Committee. On April 11th, Drs. Lautner and Pyburn attended a meeting of the state veterinarians from states that will have production sites participating in the Trichinae Herd Certication large-scale pilots. The timeline and on-farm certication system for the pilots were reviewed and discussed.

National Animal Health Emergency Management (NAHEM) Steering Committee Meeting

The NAHEM Steering Committee Meeting was held after the NIAA annual meeting. Drs. Lautner and Pyburn, representing the pork industry, presented a draft survey that will be sent to all industry groups to assess their state of emergency preparedness. In addition, a draft set of industry standards and a communication plan were circulated. The latest version of the Steering Committee's Strategic Plan was reviewed. An overview was given of a modeling program being developed by the USDA to help in the decision-making process for use of Foot-and-Mouth Disease vaccine in case of a U.S. outbreak. Dr. Pyburn, chair of the AASP Foreign Animal Disease Committee, is a member of the Education and Training Subcommittee. This subcommittee met on the rst day of the meeting to work on the animal health emergency management information website and to review the animal health emergency management video for nal revisions. They also reviewed the currently available information on recognition of foreign animal diseases.

National Pork Database

The National Pork Database forms the central hub of a coordinated, knowledge-based information strategy to ensure long-term protable opportunities for pork producers. It has been designed to receive standardized production and nancial information from even the smallest pork producers. This has several advantages to both individual producers and to the industry.

This project represents a unique, future-oriented commitment by the NPPC. The database will be accessible via the Internet, both for contributing data and for the many applications in development. In cooperation with industry software providers, periodic, automatic uploading over a secure Internet connection will facilitate data submission. Each producer will be assigned a username and a password for secure access, and they or their consultant(s) will be able to log-on to the database to set up, change and manage the structure of their farm. Setting up the farm will include identifying the location, building technology, and stage(s) of production. After setup, producers will be able to regularly contribute production and nancial data.

In order to be a part of the National Pork Database, the producer must attend seven classes, requiring an investment of 10 days during a 13-month period. For more information, call Jenny Felt at 515-223-2600, ext. 771.

Pork Production and Financial Standards Seminar at Leman Conference

The NPPC will be sponsoring a lunch and three-hour introductory course focusing on the checkoff-funded Pork Production and Financial Standards initiative. This will be held before the Leman Conference at a downtown Minneapolis hotel (not yet selected) near the conference site. Ultimately, the "standards" will allow producers, lenders, consultants, educators, and other allied industry representatives to speak the same language when comparing production and nancial business matters. Currently, comparing our results with those of others in the pork industry is very tricky. As the national pork database is developed with standardized information, collection of data for historical tracking and comparative analysis of pork production systems will become possible, and over time, industry benchmarks will be developed. The standards are in place and the educational process has begun, using a standardized curriculum. At this session, you will hear how you, too, can become involved in this groundbreaking initiative. For more information, call Jenny Felt at 515-223-2600, ext. 771.