Livestock agriculture needs to maintain vigilance on the disease front. Unfortunately, issues will crop up.
In April, the fourth case of BSE in the United States since 2003 sent shock waves through the cattle sector. Quick action to provide science-based information that the U.S. beef supply remains safe helped avert a beef demand debacle.
Just three years ago, pork faced a similar potential demand upset as the media referred to the H1N1 virus as swine flu.
Producers, regulators and the animal health industry need to be prepared to respond when concerns do arise. A key first step is monitoring diseases within the industry. Knowing the current status helps producers and veterinarians rapidly identify new issues that appear.
Goal is prevention. USDA's National Animal Health Monitoring System, in collaboration with USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service is taking an in-depth look at U.S. swine operations. The objective is to provide the industry with updated information on swine disease prevention and management practices on the farm. USDA last collected such information during the NAHMS Swine 2006 Study.
This year's study will gather detailed information on swine health and management practices, as well as determine the prevalence and associated risk factors for select respiratory, neurologic, gastrointestinal, systemic and foodborne diseases plus the economic costs of these diseases.
USDA enumerators will contact small and large swine operations to obtain important health management and productivity information to characterize management practices. From July 1 through August 1, NASS will phone or visit random swine operations with 100 pigs or more in 13 states and mail questionnaires to a random sample of swine operations with fewer than 100 pigs in 31 states.
By participating in the Swine 2012 Study, producers can contribute to:
- Defining current management practices, health status and productivity, and describe trends over the last 20 years;
- Helping industry researchers update the economic impact of PRRS;
- Determining the prevalence of pathogens other countries use as trade barriers; and
- Guiding future research and education efforts.
Your information remains confidential. "Swine 2012 will provide the pork industry with valuable information on levels of disease; farrow-to-finish producers; all-in, and all-out management; biosecurity practices and more," explains Jim Niewold, National Pork Board, Swine Health Committee Chair and Illinois Pork Producer. "I wholeheartedly encourage any producer who can participate in the NAHMS Swine 2012 study to do so."
As with all NAHMS studies, individual responses are kept strictly confidential and used only in combination with other responses to report regional and U.S. estimates. This assures that no matter the size, participating operations cannot be identified when the results of the study are reported.