News from NPPC

Foreign animal disease outbreaks raise awareness of proper management, biosecurity

The severe animal and economic losses to the United Kingdom's livestock industry due to the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreak serves as a wake-up call to the US pork industry. Although producers in the United States have not had to face FMD since 1929, the industry cannot become complacent about the potential risks. With the proliferation of worldwide trade, animal movement, and human travel, it would take only one biosecurity breakdown to allow a foreign animal disease to enter the United States. Now, more than ever, veterinarians must stress to producers the measures necessary to protect their herds.

The industry is recognizing the importance of proper management techniques and biosecurity procedures. Veterinarians can play an important role in preventing a serious outbreak of FMD or another highly contagious disease. The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) is committed to providing resources to protect the pork industry from the incursion of a foreign animal disease.

Recently, the NPPC released a video for producers and veterinarians, highlighting biosecurity breeches that would allow a foreign disease to enter our country. Information is provided on how the industry can protect itself, and what government and industry officials are currently doing to protect the United States. This video, which would be useful in client meetings or for motivating employees to comply with biosecurity measures, is available from NPPC for $15.

Also available from the NPPC are fact sheets on sanitation, rodent control, transportation, and other production areas that affect biosecurity. The NPPC has also funded several research projects examining biosecurity protocols and the transmission of diseases. Ordering information for all resources can be found at

The following are important precautions for individuals hosting international visitors:

  • Visitors should have had no contact with livestock for at least 48 hours prior to visiting a pork production site.
  • If possible, a shower in-shower out policy should be utilized.
  • All visitors should wash their hands with a disinfectant soap.
  • A complete set of coveralls, hairnet, boots, and a dust mask should be supplied for visitors.
  • Visitors should be allowed only in selected areas.
  • Cameras, equipment, or other items that cannot be properly disinfected should not be allowed into livestock areas.

Reorganization Plan Announced for NPPC

A settlement agreement reached between NPPC, the Michigan Pork Producers Association, and the USDA continues the mandatory checkoff program and calls for the complete separation of the National Pork Board and the NPPC. Although final reorganization plans are still being made, NPPC staff who work primarily on checkoff funded programs, such as the Science and Technology programs, will be able to maintain their work as employees of the National Pork Board. The NPPC will continue to focus its efforts on policy-related legislative and regulatory issues.

The agreement also requires the National Pork Board to employ its own management and staff, including the chief executive officer and chief financial officer; manage separate contracts for promotion, research, and consumer information projects; maintain separate office operations from the NPPC; and maintain separate communications from the NPPC. By June 2003, the USDA will conduct a survey to determine whether 15 percent of producers and importers are in favor of conducting a referendum to decide continuation of the checkoff program. If the required number of producers and importers request a referendum, it would be held within one year.

Although there are changes in the future for both NPPC and the National Pork Board, each organization's highest priority, as always, will be working to benefit producers and the pork industry. Launched!

The NPPC's Science and Technology Department announces the launching of, a comprehensive pork research information source in cyberspace. This web site serves as a resource for hot topics and a repository for pork industry research.

The site offers a reservoir of information on program areas under the management of the Science and Technology Department, including swine health, producer/public health, on-farm pork safety, post-harvest pork safety, pork quality, human nutrition, and biotechnology. Information on programs, research projects, publications, presentations, positions, news, and events is available for each area, and industry links to other sites of interest are provided. The site contains an archive of NPPC-funded research projects and results since 1995.

Other features of include a complete list of science and technology fact sheets, including those produced in cooperation with AASV. Up-to-date progress reports on the National Pseudorabies Eradication Program are available. Complete research reports, publications lists, and position papers on PRRS, domestic diseases, pig health management, foreign animal diseases, biosecurity, swine identification, and the swine futures project also are posted. The site contains information about NPPC's work on antimicrobial usage-availability, and materials related to our "One Is Too ManySM" broken needle awareness campaign. Science-related news releases from the pork industry and information on science and technology conferences and other events also can be found. will be an active, evolving site, so check it often for the pork science information you need!