2015 Swine Industry Changes


Dr. Carissa Odland
Dr. Carissa Odland

Premises ID Number (PIN) ear tags…

In light of new disease that has entered the U.S. in the last 24 months, everyone in the swine industry is more aware of what “disease traceability” means and how new diseases can impact our industry.  A new requirement by the packers & processors in the U.S. has been employed to improve our ability to monitor, track and respond to new disease outbreaks in the swine industry.  Pork producers, as of January 1st 2015, will be required to insert an ear tag that contains their farms’ PIN number on all breeding herd cull animals (sows and boars).  Most major U.S. packers and processors are going to require PIN tags in order for cull animals to be harvested.  These companies include Johnsonville, Hillshire Brands, Calihan Pork Processors, Bob Evans Farms, Wampler’s Farm Sausage, Pine Ridge Farms, Pioneer Packing Co., Pork King Packing and Abbyland Pork Pack.

Who needs to be tagged and when? The packers and processors are requiring that “breeding swine” have PIN tags prior to entering the harvest markets.  “Breeding swine” is technically defined as sexually intact swine over six months of age according to the USDA.  Ultimately the breeding swine that are being harvested need to be tagged with an official PIN tag prior to leaving the premises.  It is important to note that once an animal is tagged with an official PIN tag, the tag should never be taken out.  If the animal is moved to a new location within the same production system but with a different PIN, this movement should be documented in records but the animal does not need a new PIN tag.

How will this make the swine industry and your farm better?  1) This program provides confidence for domestic and foreign buyers of U.S. pork that our product is safe, which helps sustain our export market options as well as the domestic markets; 2) This program also helps minimize spread of future disease introductions in the U.S. which would minimize potential damages across the country.

For more information, check out the November 2014 Pork Checkoff REPORT Newsletter (http://www.pork.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/pork-checkoff-newsletter-nov-2014.pdf).

Common Swine Industry Audit (CSIA)…

Perspective — multiple different packer welfare & food safety programs were implemented across the swine industry in the last 18 months.  Some of you may recall hearing names like Tyson FarmCheck program or Hormel FACTS program – these are two examples of the packer programs that have been rolled out.  Based on my experience and reports from producers I work with, a farm could have a couple different packers / auditors visit within a year.  Having multiple packer welfare & food safety programs has created confusion on a couple levels: 1) extra potential foot traffic coming through your farm, increasing disease risk and 2) creating confusion for people outside the industry as well as domestic and foreign purchasers of U.S. pork – questioning why we do not have a unified standard for welfare and food safety.

With these concerns in mind, leaders in the swine industry started developing a “Common Swine Industry Audit” that could be adopted by all participants in the swine industry.   The CSIA will be used as a tool by customers in the marketplace (i.e. packers) to evaluate multiple practices on your farm including: Animal Well-being, Animal Handling, Caretaker Training, Facility Evaluation, Record Keeping, and Food Safety Practices.

Check out the following information on the National Pork Board Website for answers to “frequently asked questions” about the CSIA: http://www.pork.org/common-industry-audit/frequently-asked-questions.

Below, is a my summary of a couple key pieces of information from the Pork Board website:

Who created the CSIA? A task force of industry stakeholders created the CSIA including producers, veterinarians, animal scientists, packers, processors, retail and foodservice representatives.

How would your farm get selected to participate in an Audit?  Buyers in the marketplace (i.e. packer) may incorporate participation in third party audits as a condition of sale for your farm.  If this is the case, it will be dependent on the buyer’s (i.e. packer, customer) terms for how often or if your farm is selected to be audited.

Who will use the information gathered?  The audit is completed by an independent party to provide verification that the programs on your farm meet animal well-being and food safety industry standards.  This information will be shared with the customer in the marketplace (i.e. packer) who requested that the audit be completed on your farm.

Can your farm market animals if you refuse to participate in a third party audit?  If a customer in the marketplace (i.e. packer) has asked you to complete a third-party audit as a condition of sale and you decline, it is up to the customer to decide if they continue to purchase your animals.

To learn more about the Common Swine Industry Audit or to work with a team to help get your farm into compliance for an Audit, check out Verified Swine Solutions (www.verifiedswinesolutions.com).  Verified Swine Solutions is your one-stop shop for getting hog farm audit ready assurance and peace of mind.

By: Dr. Carissa Odland