U.S. Swine Health Improvement Plan pilot project kicks off

ASF-CSF Monitored Certification Program to model NPIP's H5/H7 Avian Influenza Monitored Certification of U.S. commercial poultry operations.


Ann Hess, National Hog Farmer 

Sep 09, 2020


Since June, the Iowa State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory has been in the thick of COVID-19 testing to help expedite test results at the State Hygienic Laboratory at the University of Iowa. The ISU VDL has been conducting COVID-19 antibody testing and polymerase chain reaction testing, and in August was approved as a "reference laboratory" for human health care providers.


While the lab has been assisting on the human side, Rodger Main, director of operations for the diagnostic laboratory at Iowa State's College of Veterinary Medicine, says the VDL is ready to roll out the next phase of the U.S. Swine Health Improvement Plan.


"Unquestionably, COVID-19 continues to create a lot of hardship across our country, the pork industry and world, and perhaps such hardships as they say here, as in the very real and substantial industry and societal level stressors in play, make the timing of this pilot project, maybe far less than optimal," Main says. "However, just with our own personal experiences at the lab here in dealing with the COVID-19 response and so on, and based upon I think what we've kind of continued to learn through that, it might seem to suggest there's no better time than today to start this and move this pilot project forward."


The pilot project is an African swine fever and classical swine fever monitored certification program and comes after a 2018 study was commissioned with the aim of seeking a more-in-depth understanding of the National Poultry Improvement Plan and assessing the potential for an NPIP-like program to support the U.S. pork industry.


"NPIP is a cooperative industry, state and federal program that serves to certify and represent the health of U.S. poultry," Main says. "It's implemented across the U.S. poultry and egg industries and participation is voluntary, but essentially universal across U.S. poultry and egg industries, as NPIP health status classifications are the official recognized standards of health, and are used to demonstrate freedom of disease for both trade and non-trade impacting diseases."


NPIP is driven by a congress of industry stakeholders that comes together every two years to define and continually update the program. The program is facilitated by the USDA veterinary services whose primary aim is to provide some central coordination and maintain the program documents as being current. The official state agencies then adopt and administer the program to meet the poultry and egg industry needs within their state and to ensure enrolled producers and packers implement the program in accordance with the certifications they choose to hold.


"It's a very active process," Main says...