Pork Board hopes to prevent disease outbreaks with new online tool

The National Pork Board has launched a new software platform that officials hope will help prevent disease outbreaks in the industry.

AgView, an online tool funded by the Pork Checkoff, allows producers to share their farms’ foreign animal disease outbreak status and pig movement data with state animal health officials. The technology is free and offered on an opt-in basis. Producers who use the platform can give permission for AgView to provide data to officials, who can then implement responses using information from across the state, including contact tracing of infected animals.

“COVID taught us the best way to quickly contain and recover from a significant supply chain disruption, which an FAD outbreak would be, is through real-time information, collaboration and a common data set to inform decision making,” said Pork Board CEO Bill Even.

Farm biosecurity is a rising priority in the industry, particularly as African swine fever hits farms around the world and the coronavirus pandemic makes clear the risk of new diseases spreading from animals to humans. Outbreaks could mean devastating economic losses for producers: A study from Iowa State University found that an ASF outbreak in the United States could cost the pork industry $50 billion over a decade.

The concern isn’t limited to swine. Experts say all parts of the producer operation should be safeguarded. University of Minnesota Extension veterinarian Joe Armstrong in Bovine Veterinarian recently gave a seven-step guide to help producers create a farm biosecurity plan.

Among other things, Armstrong advises, veterinarian input is key: “Your veterinarian is one of the only people you work with that can comment on your entire system and how everything works together,” he said. “They have specific biosecurity training that can help you develop a plan that targets your most significant transmission risks.”