In collaboration with other industry partners, the Pork Checkoff secured a federal grant earlier this year through the National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program. National Pork Board Director of Swine Health Dr. Pam Zaabel says training programs are being developed for on-farm surveillance and testing.
“We’re looking to train on-farm personnel. So, people on the farm caretakers producers and so on, to collect blood, or blood swab samples, oral fluid, tonsils, spleen, lymph nodes, and nasal swabs to name a few. And then we also are working on some resources on how to package and get those samples submitted into the diagnostic lab. So, the idea is that a category two accredited veterinarian, so those are the veterinarians that we have that are able to do different tasks granted to them by the USDA like write health certificates, so, they would take these resources on to the farm, and they would train the people on the farm how to collect the sample.”
If there was a large-scale foreign animal disease outbreak, like African Swine Fever, specially-trained animal health officials would go onto the farms and collect samples.
“If we had a large-scale outbreak, we would run out of people, very quickly. There’d be an increased downtime to move and biosecurity measures to move between the site. They’d be busy with their regular duties and addressing affected herds. And so, we need to have people on the form that you can be able to collect those samples and have animal health officials trust the collection of those samples. You know, it’s one of those situations that if we have animal samples collected from animals say in Minnesota, for example, and they would move under a movement permit to Iowa, the state vet in Iowa would need to trust that those samples were collected correctly, and that he can count on those results. So, it needs to be a program that is accepted nationally, to the different state animal health officials, as well as providing the ability for the veterinarians to have those resources to go on the farm to train the personnel.”
The goal is to finalize this project in the spring of 2021.
“What we do is with research a great team of collaborators all working on different parts, is we have some of these resources in different stages of development, some of them are already completed, some are being reviewed and some are yet to be developed. So, we’re working on all these in english, first of all, that’s our first goal is to have those all completed by late spring, and then and in the meantime as the three different handouts and videos get completed we’re working on getting those translated to Spanish also.”
For more information, producers can contact the Pork Checkoff Service Center. Go to Pork.org or call 800-456-PORK.