Pork Industry Guides US Swine Health Improvement Plan Forward


September 23, 2022

More than 250 producers, veterinarians, swine health officials, state pork association officials and others recently met as delegates to the US Swine Health Improvement Plan (US SHIP) meeting in Bloomington, Minnesota. The delegation discussed and passed resolutions and standards to bring more clarity and definition to the project as it works toward its goal of becoming a full USDA program designed to safeguard, certify and improve animal health.

“We’re very pleased with the great discussions and action that took place at the 2022 house of delegates meeting as we seek to move the program forward,” said Tyler Holck, DVM, US SHIP Senior Program Coordinator, Iowa State University. “We would like to see even more producers, live-animal marketers and packers across the country join their peers in participating as we seek to grow this program in the months and years ahead.”

Speakers and delegates representing 31 states discussed traceability, surveillance, feed biosafety, site biosecurity and live-haul sanitation. Voting delegates approved eight resolutions for further assessment and consideration of four standards related to traceability, feed biosafety (2), live haul sanitation, surveillance (2), feral pig risk mitigation and governance. Working groups and/or pilot projects will begin in the next year for all areas with findings and recommendations to be presented at the 2023 US SHIP delegates’ meeting.

“Those who attended this meeting offered invaluable input and showed a high level of collaboration that should help make US SHIP even more successful as it moves ahead,” said Dusty Oedekoven, NPB’s chief veterinarian. “The industry needs to do everything it can to prepare for an event such as African swine fever, and this program can and should help us achieve that goal. I would urge producers to contact their official state agency and enroll in SHIP.”

Specifically on foreign animal disease, Holck said, “US SHIP aims to incorporate a number of the foreign animal disease preparedness efforts into a singular USDA certification (ASF-CSF Monitored) of US swine production premises, live animal marketing operations and slaughter facilities.”

Per US SHIP’s original intent, the plan is to mitigate risks of disease introduction and provide a practical means for demonstrating evidence of freedom of disease (outside of foreign animal disease control areas) in support of ongoing interstate commerce and a pathway towards the resumption of international trade.

“We are encouraging all segments of the US pork industry to participate in US SHIP,” Holck said. “When fully implemented, the program is designed to be applicable across the full spectrum of U.S. pork industry participants from the small show pig farmer to the large commercial producers and slaughter facilities.”

US SHIP Official State Agencies across the US began the process of enrolling sites last March. To date, approximately 40 percent of the US breeding herd and growing pigs across 31 states have enrolled in US SHIP. The pilot program is on an expedited path towards becoming a USDA program by 2024.

US SHIP has been endorsed by the National Pork Board, National Pork Producers Council, North American Meat Institute, American Association of Swine Veterinarians, United States Animal Health Association and the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians.

Oedekoven added, “As a major funding partner of US SHIP using Pork Checkoff funds, we’re encouraged to see the level of industry engagement and solidarity behind the core objectives of the plan to help improve the nation’s foreign animal disease readiness and protect our ability to maintain continuity of business in the face of a potential foreign animal disease outbreak.”
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US SHIP is a highly collaborative USDA Veterinary Services sponsored pilot project being pursued with support of state and industry partners, funded by the National Pork Board and the USDA. Working in cooperation with a team swine veterinarians at Kansas State University, South Dakota State University, University of Illinois, and the University of Minnesota, researchers at the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine have received nearly $2M in extramural funding to support the development of a US SHIP customized to meet the needs of the 21st century US Pork industry. The principal objectives of this endeavor are to develop and implement an African Swine Fever (ASF)-Classical Swine Fever (CSF) Monitored Certification Program modelled after the basic tenets of the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP) H5/H7 Avian Influenza Monitored certification held by greater than 99% of US Commercial Poultry operations.

More information can be found at usswinehealthimprovementplan.com