July 2023 SHIC eNewsletter

The Swine Health Information Center, launched in 2015 with Pork Checkoff funding, protects and enhances the health of the US swine herd by minimizing the impact of disease threats through preparedness, coordinated communications, global disease monitoring, analysis of swine health data, and targeted research investments. For more information, visit http://www.swinehealth.org or contact Dr. Sundberg at [email protected].

Dykhuis and Thomas Join SHIC Board of Directors

During the Swine Health Information Center board meeting on June 30, 2023, two new board members began their service. Joseph Dykhuis, a Michigan pork producer representing the National Pork Producers Council on the SHIC Board, and Pete Thomas, DVM, with Iowa Select Farms, in an at-large position, joined Kent Bang, Daryl Olsen, DVM, Russ Nugent, PhD, Gene Noem, Jeremy Pittman, DVM, Paul Ruen, DVM, and Mark Schwartz. Founding board members Howard Hill, DVM, retired industry veterinarian, pork producer, and NPPC representative, and Matthew Turner, DVM, head of live pork division, JBS, concluded their service.   

An election of officers at the same meeting saw Nugent elected to serve as chair of the Board, replacing Olsen who filled the role since the Center’s inception in 2015. Schwartz will be vice chair and Bang will continue to serve as secretary/treasurer.  

Dykhuis and Thomas 

Dykhuis of Holland, Michigan, is president of Dykhuis Farms, Inc., a farrow-to-finish hog and row crop farm operating in Michigan and Indiana. He owns the enterprise along with his four sisters and his parents, Robert and Lorrie Dykhuis. Dykhuis earned a degree in agricultural economics from Purdue University and has served on serval committees and task forces for Pork Board, NPPC, and SHIC. He and his wife, Heather, have four children at home. 

Thomas of Boone, Iowa, has served as director of health services for Iowa Select Farms for more than seven years. Prior to joining Iowa Select, he was in private practice for five years and with Smithfield for four years. Thomas earned a master of science in preventive medicine from Iowa State University and a doctor of veterinary medicine degree from there as well. He was raised on a 200-sow farrow-to-finish farm in eastern Iowa. 

Hill and Turner 

“I saw this as a great opportunity for our industry to be a little more nimble with our funding and communications,” explained Hill when asked why he agreed to serve on the SHIC Board of Directors. “When you look at our original mission statement, and changes we’ve made, we have done a good job of fulfilling it.” 

Looking back over the last eight years, Hill sees a lot to be proud of. “We have had some great projects that helped answer a lot of questions. And it was not done it in a vacuum. While SHIC is a separate organization with its own budget, we work hand-in-hand with other industry organizations like AASV, Pork Board, and NPPC. We also partnered with USDA’s Foreign Ag Service for research being conducted in Vietnam as well as the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research for our biosecurity program,” he commented.  

SHIC’s focus has been on preparedness and prevention, in Hill’s view, along with anticipating what might be next. “I hope producers recognize the value SHIC has brought them. We always try to get information out in a timely manner and try to make sure people recognize the fact that though SHIC is separate, we are funded with Checkoff dollars,” he stated. “In fact, I hope producers recognize those Checkoff dollars come back to them in spades.” 

Hill says serving on the SHIC Board of Directors has been a great experience. “I’ve learned a lot and worked with really talented people. It’s time for younger folks to take over,” he remarked. “I’m excited about Pete Thomas and Joe Dykhuis joining the board and know they will have a successful tenure with SHIC.” 

“For me, joining the SHIC board was an opportunity to help craft the future of the swine industry, as we’ve been challenged with disease for decades, to improve the health status of the national swine herd as much as possible, and to make it more profitable for our producers,” Turner explained.  

Working together, Turner says the SHIC board spends quite a bit of time focusing on nimbleness, creating the ability to quickly respond when needed. Because the needs of the future are not known today, it is essential to structure all elements of the Board’s work, including financial management, to enable response when needed. “We don’t feel compelled to spend money when there isn’t a need. That’s one of the best fiduciary things we do as an organization,” Turner stated.  

Turner was a practitioner in 2013-2014 when porcine epidemic diarrhea virus struck the US pork industry. SHIC was borne out of that epidemic. “We didn’t know what was going on, weren’t aware, or connected. We were at risk and didn’t really know we were at risk,” he remembered. “With SHIC, awareness of disease issues around the world is communicated to producers and practitioners. We’re much more prepared today as a global participant because we know what’s going on around us.” 

The SHIC Board of Directors includes veterinarians, producers, people with financial acumen, and researchers. “We are a blend of all those constituencies, which makes the Board incredibly strong,” Turner observed. “It has been an absolute pleasure to work with people who are incredibly bright. The perspectives of individuals from diverse backgrounds are valuable.”  

“The most rewarding thing I’ve seen, serving on the Board the last eight years, is to see the impact of collaboration at an industry-wide level,” Turner commented. “When SHIC starts giving information out, sharing results from research conducted with SHIC funding, it changes behavior and the future of our pork industry. I’m proud to have been part of that.”

SHIC Continues Research Focus on Wean-to-Harvest Biosecurity

The Swine Health Information Center, along with the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research and Pork Checkoff, will soon be awarding another round of funding for Wean-to-Harvest Biosecurity-related research projects in response to its second call for proposals. Because not all the research priorities were sufficiently addressed, SHIC continues to invite proposals within the Wean-to-Harvest Biosecurity Program to address this identified vulnerability to swine health and producers’ opportunity for profitability, to stretch SHIC’s producer Checkoff funds to safeguard the health of the US swine herd, and to help control the next emerging disease in the US pork industry.  

SHIC, in partnership with FFAR and Pork Checkoff, launched the two-year Wean-to-Harvest Biosecurity Program in the fall of 2022. Research proposals were invited with the intent of investigating cost-effective, innovative technologies, protocols, or ideas to enhance biosecurity during the wean-to-harvest phases of swine production. Round one projects launched in March 2023. Round two projects are expected to begin in July-August 2023. A pool of approximately $2.3 million is available for the program, with approximately $1 million being awarded to the first round of projects.

Continued researchable interests include: 

Proposals must identify and include which of the research priorities is being investigated. They are expected to define current practices and investigate innovative and novel protocols or technologies that may have a cost, efficiency, or implementation advantage. Herd health status monitoring, instead of disease outbreak incidence, can be used to demonstrate success of the protocols or technologies and aid in a required economic analysis of cost-effectiveness. Collaborative projects that include pork industry, allied industry and/or academic public/private partnerships, that demonstrate the most urgency and timeliness of completion and that show efficient use of funds, will be prioritized for funding. If project duration is extended to assess seasonal effects, a justification for the timeline should be clearly stated.  

For more information or to discuss development of proposals, contact Dr. Paul Sundberg at [email protected] or Dr. Megan Niederwerder at [email protected]. 

Swine Health Information Center 

The Swine Health Information Center, launched in 2015 with Pork Checkoff funding, protects and enhances the health of the US swine herd by minimizing the impact of disease threats through preparedness, coordinated communications, global disease monitoring, analysis of swine health data, and targeted research investments. As a conduit of information and research, SHIC encourages sharing of its publications and research. Forward, reprint, and quote SHIC material freely. For more information, visit http://www.swinehealth.org or contact Dr. Paul Sundberg at [email protected] or Dr. Megan Niederwerder at [email protected]. 

Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research 

The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) builds public-private partnerships to fund bold research addressing big food and agriculture challenges. FFAR was established in the 2014 Farm Bill to increase public agriculture research investments, fill knowledge gaps and complement USDA’s research agenda. FFAR’s model matches federal funding from Congress with private funding, delivering a powerful return on taxpayer investment. Through collaboration and partnerships, FFAR advances actionable science benefiting farmers, consumers and the environment. 

Connect: @FoundationFAR

Travel Season Reminder: Report Lack of Secondary Screening

As international travel increases, the Swine Health Information Center offers a reminder to report production agriculture traveler experiences while entering the US and going through customs. Some travelers who self-reported visits to livestock production sites have not been diverted to customs agriculture specialists for secondary screening. SHIC, along with the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, National Pork Board, and NPPC, ask international travelers to report if they were not diverted for secondary screening upon arrival in the US.  

During World Pork Expo 2023, US Customs and Border Protection representatives shared their experience and protocols to lessen these occurrences.  All international travelers returning to the US, or those arriving from other countries, after visiting a farm or being in contact with animals in an ASFV-positive country, or country with any other foreign animal disease, should be aware of the expected protocol. These persons should declare this information to US CBP via written form, airport kiosk, verbally, or through the CBP’s Mobile Passport Control app.  

Protection of domestic pork production begins at each US point of entry. CBP’s four-legged protection team, Agriculture Canines (Ag K9), provides daily monitoring to stop foreign pork products from entering the country. Two CBP representatives, along with Ozcar, a member of the beagle brigade, shared how they approach their role of protecting the US pork industry during World Pork Expo 2023. 

Ozcar and his CBP handler performed a demonstration with luggage and showed how the beagle signals to where the contraband food items are located. While saying Ozcar’s favorite item to detect is pork, which he found in a suitcase wrapped in plastic, his handler also showed him finding limes in a different suitcase. Those limes were also wrapped in a plastic grocery bag inside the luggage.  

Ozcar’s handler said the beagle works passenger facing flights coming into Chicago. Based on the CBP representative’s report, the interdiction program prevents the entry of many prohibited products every day. CBP ag specialists and the beagle brigade continue to provide a high level of service to protect US agriculture with their efforts.  CBP is publishing a real-time interdiction dashboard at https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/stats/agriculture-enforcement-statistics, where they report their agriculture enforcement statistics. 

If you are NOT diverted for secondary screening after declaring you have been on a farm or in contact with animals in an ASF or other foreign animal disease positive nation, please email the following to [email protected]:

SHIC aggregates this information so SHIC, AASV, NPB, and NPPC can share it with CBP to help identify areas for continued focus.

July Swine Disease Monitoring Reports

Domestic Disease Monitoring Report

This month’s Domestic Swine Disease Monitoring Report brings information about the increased detection of PRRSV in the state of Ohio and the summer PRRSV lineage 1C variant pattern of detection. PDCoV and PEDV had increased regional activity (PDCoV – Kansas and Illinois; PEDV – Nebraska, Missouri, and North Carolina), which is atypical for summer periods. Regarding the influenza A virus, the percentage of positive submissions didn’t follow the trend of going down in the summer months, which is also atypical for this pathogen. Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae still has a high number of monthly submissions above the historical number, but positivity remains stable and within expected. In the podcast, the SDRS team discussed the project’s new developments through the USDA-NIFA funding: Monitoring new PRRSV variants, traceability of pathogen co-detection, SDRS representativeness, and further developments.

Global Swine Disease Monitoring Report

Evidence of African swine fever recombination has surfaced in China where researchers reported genotype I and II recombinant ASF viruses detected in pigs. In Europe, the first outbreaks of ASF in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia raise the total affected countries to 23. In Italy, ASF virus was detected in a wild boar carcass in the province of Pavia. The disease’s arrival in Lombardy raises concerns, given the role of the region’s pig farming industry.