News from the National Pork Board

National Pork Board's Swine Health Committee discusses issues, seeks solutions

The National Pork Board's Swine Health Committee met August 22 in Des Moines, Iowa, to receive updates on current swine health issues and address challenges facing the pork industry. Issues discussed included food-waste feeding in the industry, protection of the nation's swine herd from foreign animal disease, and the benefits of creating a National Animal Identification Program and obstacles that may interfere with creation of such a program. The committee also heard from officials from both Iowa and Nebraska regarding the process of those states' PRV-eradication programs. Staff from the National Pork Board gave updates on foreign animal disease preparedness, a PRRS compendium in development, and technology transfer programs.

The Swine Health Committee provides oversight for the National Pork Board's programs that address strategic health issues affecting swine productivity, profitability, consumers' image of pork, and international market access. This committee, composed of producers and veterinarians, works to maintain and improve the health of swine herds and to ensure that appropriate swine health research is conducted. They will meet again December 4 to 5 at the industry's Unified Research Meeting for selection of research proposals to receive checkoff funds. Visit the National Pork Board's Science and Technology Department's web site at for more information on the industry's swine health programs.

Swine Health Symposium topics: Research, foot-and-mouth disease, PRRS, biosecurity

Swine health experts will gather in Des Moines, Iowa, November 28 to 29, to review progress in the areas of swine health and safety during the past year and to learn from the challenges. Sponsored by the National Pork Board, this Swine Health Symposium will address topics including priorities and highlights of checkoff-funded research, lessons learned from the United Kingdom's and Europe's foot-and-mouth disease outbreak, barriers that guard the United States from such an outbreak, PRRS control and eradication strategies, animal welfare, and biosecurity.

Two different tracks will be offered during breakout sessions, covering items of interest related to breeding herd operations and finishing operations. The breeding herd track will feature speakers addressing topics such as sow mortality and longevity, health issues in breeding herds, and gilt development programs. Finishing track topics include enteric diseases, antimicrobial alternatives, Judicious Use Guidelines education, and the economics of wean-to- finish operations. The National Pork Board's new CEO will address symposium attendees, and many AASV members will be featured as presenters.

For more information on the symposium, contact the National Pork Board's Director of Veterinary Science, Liz Wagstrom, at 515-223-2600 or

Newsletter to focus on swine health, on-farm food safety

The National Pork Board is launching a newsletter addressing current swine health and on-farm food-safety issues. "Swine Health Communicator" not only will give information about health and production issues, but it also will explain how the pork industry is responding to these concerns. If you would like to be included on the e-mail distribution list for "Swine Health Communicator," send your contact information to Sara Zenger, the National Pork Board's director of technical information, at

Swine vets meet with Wendy's to discuss industry issues

Dr Paul Sundberg, National Pork Board; Dr John Deen, National Pork Board Animal Welfare Committee; Dr Lisa Tokach, AASV; Dr David Reeves, AASV; and faculty of the Ohio State University's Swine Extension Program met with officials from Wendy's International in Columbus, Ohio. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss animal welfare and initiatives of the pork industry. This productive meeting was another excellent opportunity for the National Pork Board and AASV to cooperate and address topics that directly impact the industry. The National Pork Board is grateful for the opportunity to work with swine veterinarians, and plans to continue these efforts that allow the pork industry to base its production practices on sound science.

Animal health-safeguarding review assesses industry challenges

Safeguarding animal health in the United States has become an increasingly complex challenge and has received significant attention from producers, veterinarians, the public, and government officials since the UK outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. To assess the current US safeguarding system, USDA's Veterinary Services contracted with the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture to conduct a review of the performance of the various components of the system. Four committees (Domestic Detection and Surveillance, Exclusion, International Information, and Response) conducted numerous site visits and interviews to develop recommendations for enhancements and new initiatives for the safeguarding system. Dr Beth Lautner, vice president of Science and Technology at the National Pork Board, chaired the Domestic Detection and Surveillance Committee, and Dr Rick Sibbel served on the International Information Committee. Included in the report were recommendations that impact veterinarians and veterinary education. Further information on the report can be accessed at