Is your hog farm prepared to navigate quarantines in a FAD outbreak?
Each year, approximately 25% of all the pork produced in the US is exported to other countries. Imagine if access to those markets closed abruptly. That’s the scenario pork producers would face if a foreign animal disease (FAD) surfaced in the US swine herd, said Patrick Webb, director of swine health programs for the National Pork Board.
Equally as daunting would be producers’ ability to move uninfected pigs from one site to another in the face of regional quarantines. For an industry that puts an estimated 1 million pigs on the road a day, serious challenges would emerge.
“We have federal, state and industry plans in place to address FADs, but they take steps to control and contain the disease,” Webb told Pig Health Today. “The last piece in the puzzle is, ‘What about folks in a control area that don’t have the disease?’”
That’s where the industry’s Secure Pork Supply Plan comes into play. It seeks to ensure business continuity for producers whose herds are unaffected by an FAD.
In simplest terms, Webb explained, it is a proactive versus reactive strategy. By enrolling in the Secure Pork Supply Plan well ahead of a disease challenge, individual producers can differentiate themselves, their practices and their herds to help keep their pigs — and their business — moving in the face of a costly FAD outbreak.
“This is a voluntary program,” Webb said. “It’s a state, federal and industry cooperative approach to business continuity, and producers and veterinarians play a vital role.”
Some of the plan’s requirements will change the way producers do their normal business, he noted.“For example, ensuring their data can be shared electronically, and that it’s tied to a national premises identification number. All of the data has to be easily accessible to the state veterinarian” to maintain pig flow from uninfected herds.
Some of the other requirements will include having a biosecurity manager and written biosecurity plans in place, as well as verifying their implementation; training employees on FAD identification and biosecurity protocols; and outlining FAD testing, sample collection and surveillance steps.
Webb acknowledged the US hasn’t had foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) since 1929, classical swine fever was eliminated in the 1970s and African swine fever has never been on US soil. “But all three are present in the world today, and with international trade and travel, we’re always at risk,” the veterinarian said. “You don’t want to be trying to develop a plan the day after a challenge arises.”
Although the Secure Pork Supply Plan is designed specifically for the three FADs cited, the plan’s infrastructure could be applied to a new, emerging disease, Webb added.