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Pork producers asked to take part in animal health studyPork producers asked to take part in animal health study

The USDA survey will ask for feedback on disease management and safety.

Mindy Ward

February 27, 2020

2 Min Read
closeup of hogs behind wire fence
SWINE STUDY: The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Survey wants to talk to producers, whether they raise pigs outdoors in a hoophouse or indoors. Getty Images

Missouri hog producers may receive a phone call from the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service this summer to answer questions for a swine study.

Starting in June, the USDA National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) is working with NASS to conduct national studies of U.S. small and large enterprise swine operations.

Missouri producers are included in these studies and will be asked to provide information regarding their health and management practices. The USDA says information from these surveys and interviews will be used to make “informed disease management and preparedness strategies to safeguard the swine industry.”

Small talk

For the small enterprise study, USDA identified about 5,000 swine operations from 38 states to participate. This accounts for about 95% of U.S. swine operations with fewer than 1,000 pigs.

In June, some Missouri producers should look for a letter in their mailboxes describing the study, along with a questionnaire. While participation is voluntary, not returning the questionnaire will prompt a call from a NASS representative.

According to USDA, the representative then will ask to arrange a time to complete the questions over the phone. However, farmers may choose to opt out at any time in the process.

On-site access

With the large enterprise study, NASS is targeting those farmers who raise 1,000 or more pigs. This study requires physical access to the farm.

The initial visits start in July when a NASS representative will come to the farm to discuss the operation and the study. After that visit, if the farmer chooses to continue with the study, a USDA or state veterinary professional will arrange a second visit, which will take place from September through January.

At that time, the producer will complete a second questionnaire. The government representative also will discuss free testing of swine feces and oral fluids.

USDA identified 2,700 operations from 13 of the nation’s top swine-producing states, representing about 90% of U.S. swine operations.

USDA says, “Participation in any NAHMS study is voluntary. The privacy of every questionnaire participant is protected. Data will only be presented in an aggregate or summary manner.”

For more information, contact Charles Haley at 970-494-7216 or [email protected].

About the Author(s)

Mindy Ward

Editor, Missouri Ruralist

Mindy resides on a small farm just outside of Holstein, Mo, about 80 miles southwest of St. Louis.

After graduating from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism, she worked briefly at a public relations firm in Kansas City. Her husband’s career led the couple north to Minnesota.

There, she reported on large-scale production of corn, soybeans, sugar beets, and dairy, as well as, biofuels for The Land. After 10 years, the couple returned to Missouri and she began covering agriculture in the Show-Me State.

“In all my 15 years of writing about agriculture, I have found some of the most progressive thinkers are farmers,” she says. “They are constantly searching for ways to do more with less, improve their land and leave their legacy to the next generation.”

Mindy and her husband, Stacy, together with their daughters, Elisa and Cassidy, operate Showtime Farms in southern Warren County. The family spends a great deal of time caring for and showing Dorset, Oxford and crossbred sheep.

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