DES MOINES, Iowa, June 7, 2017 — The National Pork Board (NPB), with support from USDA and other ag organizations, is working on a voluntary plan to minimize business disruption from foreign animal diseases.

The Secure Pork Supply Plan, announced Wednesday at the World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa, aims to boost communication and coordination of all pork chain segments to help producers keep their businesses running in the event of major disease outbreak.

“We’re thankful that our country has not experienced a disease such as foot-and-mouth since 1929,” said NPB President Terry O’Neel. “However, if we get the news that FMD, African swine fever or another foreign animal disease has arrived, the Secure Pork Supply plan will pay big dividends by getting pork production back to normal much faster.”

USDA has already provided funds for plans to protect the poultry and egg supply, spurred by the massive bird flu outbreak in 2014-2015.

“It is so important to have a response plan together,” Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey said. “The most logical thing when you have a disease is to stop moving animals. In that case, you better know what you are going to do on your own operation.”

The pork industry has been asking for a secure plan since 2007. The National Pork Board is a preparing a “cookbook” style guide for pig producers to have on-hand describing the steps they should follow on their farms to protect their farms. The goal of the plan is for producers to agree to perform certain activities prior to an outbreak.

“Producers would have to make sure they have a valid pre-harvest traceability system in place, a biosecurity plan and biosecurity manager for the site, and make sure their employees are trained on biosecurity as well in surveillance activities that would need to occur,” said NPB veterinarian  Patrick Webb.

Webb said the biggest obstacle for producers is data sharing. Currently there is a voluntary program where producers can register their premises. It is known as a Premise ID. Around 32,000 producers in Iowa are registered, but Webb said just using a premise ID is not enough.

“We need to make sure we are incorporating the premise ID numbers in our movement records and production records, and need to make sure we are incorporating our premise ID numbers with our diagnostic laboratory submission forms,” Webb said. “All that data is vital to animal health officials,” he said.

The Pork Checkoff, administered by NPB, ­­­­­funded an Iowa State University feasibility study that estimated potential revenue losses to the U.S. pork and beef industries from an FMD outbreak at $12.8 billion per year, or $128 billion over a 10-year period. Related losses to corn and soybean markets over a decade were estimated at $44 billion and $24.9 billion, respectively.

“It is pretty obvious this work is critical for the pork industry,” National Pork Board CEO Bill Even said. “Any foreign animal disease, especially foot and mouth disease, would be devastating to the industry, particularly when 25 percent of pork is exported,” Evan said. He said that share could grow to 30 percent in coming years.

The Secure Pork Supply plan is the result of ongoing collaboration among USDA, the National Pork Board, the National Pork Producers Council, the American Association of Swine Veterinarians as well as academia and state and federal partners.