Nearly 1,400 exhibitors, parents and industry spectators that were on-site for The Exposition pig show this week at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines had the opportunity to attend an industry panel on biosecurity and farm preparation. The Pork Checkoff, in collaboration with the National Junior Swine Association and Team Purebred — the nation’s largest youth swine organizations — led the discussion.
“Our youth exhibitors have always strived to demonstrate good biosecurity measures to keep their pigs healthy,” says Clay Zwilling, chief executive officer of the National Swine Registry, the pedigree livestock association for the Duroc, Hampshire, Landrace and Yorkshire breeds. “With the pork industry focused on keeping African swine fever from entering the U.S., it was an appropriate time to remind youth about the importance of biosecurity and to further educate them on foreign animal diseases, as well as reemphasize their understanding and appreciation of the broader pork industry.”
The panel discussed biosecurity best practices and the important role youth exhibitors play in protecting the health of the U.S. swine herd. This took place prior to the grand barrow selection and was held in the main show ring to engage the most attendees.
The biosecurity panelists included Doug Albright, Zoetis Animal Health and Albright Swine Farm, Michigan; Mike Doran, Swine Genetics International, Iowa; Daniel Hendrickson, DVM, Stoney Creek Veterinary Service and Consultation, Indiana; and Benny Mote, University of Nebraska.
“The panelists are experienced professionals within their specific industry segment,” says Brett Kaysen, assistant vice president of sustainability for the Pork Checkoff. “They each shared the relationship among pig health, biosecurity and foreign animal diseases, such as ASF, and why it’s so critical to take steps now to safeguard their pigs from these threats.”
Dakota Moyers, executive director with Team Purebred, the junior association for the Berkshire, Chester White, Poland China, Hereford and Spotted breeds, reiterates the panel’s bottom line.
“We realize that as an association focused on helping youth raise quality, healthy pigs across the country, we must do our part to help ensure proper biosecurity protocols are being understood and implemented,” Moyers says. “It’s a responsibility that we don’t take lightly and one that we are committed to achieving.”
Kaysen, who moderated the discussion, reminded the audience that ASF is a viral disease that affects only pigs, not people — so it is not a public health threat nor a food-safety concern.