The Swine Health Information Center recently approved its 2019 Plan of Work and budget, which includes the next steps in getting more objective data on the potential risks of feed transmission of pathogens.
“When SHIC was formed, the goal was to develop an entity that helped protect the U.S. pork industry by working in concert with the National Pork Board, National Pork Producers Council and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians. I am extremely proud that we have not only reached our goals, I believe we have exceeded our goals,” says SHIC board president Daryl Olsen. Those objectives are captured in the organization’s mission statement: the mission of the Swine Health Information Center is to protect and enhance the health of the United States swine herd through coordinated global disease monitoring, targeted research investments that minimize the impact of future disease threats and analysis of swine health data.
The 2019 Plan of Work will direct SHIC’s activities in pursuit of those priorities, building on 2018 accomplishments. SHIC remains nimble and responsive moving forward.
“The 2019 Plan of Work continues to build on monitoring and analysis of global disease threats, identify opportunities to mitigate the risks to our U.S. herds, and continue to support our ability to identify and respond to emerging disease challenges,” says Matthew Turner, SHIC board member.
Improving transportation biosecurity was a consistent theme brought up by producers when putting together the Plan of Work and is a priority for 2019. SHIC-funded and -directed projects will look for innovative, cost-effective ways to stop pathogen transfer at the farm.
In 2019, SHIC work will take the next steps to add to the body of knowledge about potential risks of feed transmission of pathogens. SHIC will also support research into ways to mitigate those potential risks. USDA and the Food and Drug Administration say there isn’t enough information to consider pathogen transport via imported feed products a risk, because there is still little objective information. Part of the 2019 Plan of Work is to quickly get data and information to support an objective risk assessment that will prioritize where prevention needs to happen. Also, if contaminated feed component products are imported, those pathogens could be spread within the country during feed processing. Understanding how pathogens are distributed in the mill and cost-effective procedures to prevent distribution or disinfect the facilities will be investigated.
SHIC will continue its Global and Domestic Swine Disease Monitoring Report projects. The value of the Global Swine Disease Monitoring Report was evident during the beginning of the epidemic spread of African swine fever last year. Timely, accurate and credible information needs to be shared. The Domestic Swine Disease Monitoring Report takes advantage of the SHIC-funded standardized disease reporting from the major swine diagnostic labs. Looking at a coordinated disease reporting system will help ensure that an emerging disease will not go undetected. Quick detection is key to quick response.
Support for the Morrison Swine Health Monitoring Project will be ongoing in 2019 as well, with the goal of helping to make it stronger. The MSHMP helps provide the information and communication infrastructure for pork producers to be able to quickly respond to emerging diseases.
“The mission of SHIC to protect and enhance the health of the U.S. swine herd is critical to the future of U.S. pork producers. Since inception, the clear goal has been to create and maintain a resource that is able to respond to the needs of our industry quickly and with adequate resources to make a difference. SHIC has contributed significantly to the health of the swine herd by supporting projects that are critical to our ability to prevent or respond to diseases such as reporting diseases circulating in other countries and threatening us, improving our emerging disease diagnostic capabilities, coordinating the major swine veterinary diagnostic labs and trying to close the windows of opportunity for another disease to enter the country,” says Turner. “As global threats continue, we need to quickly evolve or perish.”