The Plum Island Animal Disease Center just off the tip of New York’s Long Island protects U.S. pork producers from the deadly threat of foreign animal diseases (FADs). Researchers on the 840-acre island find solutions and safeguards to safeguard the future of U.S. food animal production and America’s food security.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) invited the Pork Checkoff’s Swine Health Committee to visit Plum Island in July to learn more about the programs. “We were pleased to have the opportunity to learn more about the critical research and the researchers who work to protect the U.S. pork industry,” says Russ Nugent, incoming chair of the Swine Health Committee from Springdale, AR. “This visit strengthened our working relationship with USDA and its research partners on our common goal of protecting the U.S. pork industry from devastating diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease.”

Checkoff Preps for a Foreign Animal Disease
Whether it’s investing in research projects, conducting table-top and communications drills or collaborating with industry and government partners, the Pork Checkoff is always preparing for the event of a foreign animal disease (FAD).

“A successful response to a FAD means putting into action all of the work that we do now to prepare,” says Patrick Webb, DVM, swine health director for the Pork Checkoff. “The objective after an outbreak is to get producers, regions and industries to resume normal production and the United States to regain FAD-free status as quickly as possible.”

The main goals following a FAD outbreak are to:

1) Detect, control and contain the FAD in animals as quickly as possible.
2) Eradicate the FAD using strategies that stabilize animal agriculture, the food supply and the economy and that protect public health.
3) Provide science- and risk-based approaches and systems to facilitate business continuity for non-infected animals and non-contaminated animal products.

Are You Prepared on Your Farm?
The Pork Checkoff has created step-by-step guidelines on what to do on your farm if a FAD is confirmed in the United States. For this and other tools about FADs and biosecurity, go to www.pork.org.  Just click on “Resources” and then “Swine Health.”