Securing the Pork Supply

Securing the Pork Supply

by Emma Woller, Michigan GROWN, Michigan GREAT Ambassador

Michigan Pork Producers Association is comprised of family farmers committed to producing and promoting consumer access to an enjoyable and healthy pork eating experience. This mission statement would not be possible without Shelby Tackett and her role through Michigan Pork Producers with securing the pork supply.

Foreign Animal Diseases like African swine fever, foot and mouth disease, and classical swine fever are all diseases that have been eradicated from the U.S. or haven’t been in the U.S. at all thankfully. All of these diseases could have a very large, negative impact on swine production if introduced into the country. Biosecurity is set of practices that help farmers keep this disease out of animals and out of their barns to protect our food supply. Secure the Pork Supply (SPS) is a voluntary program that helps swine producers create biosecurity plans in preparation for a foreign animal disease outbreak in the U.S. These plans describe enhancements that can be made to current practices to increase biosecurity already in place.

Producers, federal and state governments, the state pork associations, National Pork Board, the National Pork Producers Council, universities and extension, animal diagnostic labs, and other industry partners all work together to secure the pork supply. Everyone has their role but they all work together to ensure the best possible outcomes for farmers and the food chain.

As consumers, we should be aware of control efforts being made. One of the highest potential risks for African Swine Fever is that the disease can travel in pork products from countries that are currently positive for the disease. African Swine Fever does not have a health risk or food safety concern for humans but if contaminated pork products are brought to the U.S. and make their way into an a live pig within the country, it would cause an outbreak. To help prevent this from happening, the USDA has implemented measures to stop pork products from other countries being brought into the U.S. by travelers. Another thing consumers can do to help prevent these out breaks is identify and reduce the number of feral swine around the country. If you see a feral pig, report it to the DNR with a location so they can then add it to their control efforts. Feral swine are another risk to the disease spread.

These diseases do not impact human health at all. Michigan Pork Producers Association is preparing for the worst when it comes to foreign animal diseases but with putting these biosecurity plans in place, they are hoping to prevent any contamination with these diseases and swine. To learn more about Michigan Pork Producers Association, visit their website linked here.

Emma Woller is a 2022 Michigan Grown Michigan Great Ambassador. She is a Junior at Michigan State University majoring in Crop and Soil Science with a minor in Agriculture Business. Emma grew up on her family farm in Montague MI raising livestock and assisting with the production of various crops.