News from the National Pork Board
PQA Plus 3.0 launched at World Pork Expo

The new PQA Plus revision 3.0 was launched at the World Pork Expo in June. This version offers timely updates, greater convenience, and a stronger focus on the caretakers’ role.

“PQA Plus revision 3.0 reflects pork producers’ desire to continually improve and meet higher standards,” said Bill Winkelman, vice president of producer and industry relations for the Pork Checkoff. “New research and better ways of presenting practical information are reflected in the latest version of PQA Plus.”

Continuous improvement defines PQA Plus, which is revised every 3 years. “We incorporate feedback from producers, packers, PQA Plus advisors, and others to deliver a solid program,” said Dinah Peebles, manager of certification programs for the Pork Checkoff. Revisions are reviewed by producers on several Pork Checkoff committees and are beta tested to make sure the information is useful to producers.

Three major enhancements in PQA Plus revision 3.0, include

1. Greater focus on caretakers,

2. New, interactive learning modules, and

3. Alignment of assessments, audits.

For more information, contact Dinah Peebles at or 515- 223-2795.

We Care plays key role in updated program

In the updated PQA Plus program, the We Care ethical principles now serve as the main chapter subjects, with the 10 Good Production Practices (GPP) restructured as subchapters.

Chapter 1: Food Safety

GPP 1: Establish a Herd Health Management Plan

GPP 2: Correctly Store and Administer    Animal Health Products

GPP 3: Ensure Safe, Wholesome Pork    Products

GPP 4: Follow Proper Feed Processing    and Feed Biosecurity Protocols

Chapter 2: Animal Welfare

GPP 5: Provide Proper Care for the Pig

GPP 6: Provide Proper Care When    Handling and Transporting the Pig

Chapter 3: Public Health

GPP 7: Protect Swine and Public    Health

Chapter 4: Workplace Safety

GPP 8: Maintain Proper Workplace    Safety

Chapter 5: Environment

GPP 9: Practice Good Environmental    Stewardship

Chapter 6: Community

GPP 10: Participate In the Community

As of March 1, 2016, more than 64,000 individuals had achieved PQA Plus certification and 17,126 sites had been assessed.

Pork Checkoff announces 2016 Pork Industry Scholarship recipients

The Pork Checkoff has awarded 22 scholarships to college students around the United States as part of its strategy to develop the pork industry’s future leaders. Successful applicants were selected from a pool of 35 applicants on the basis of scholastic merit, leadership activities, involvement in the pork production industry, and future plans for a career in pork production.

“The 2016 scholarship winners will positively impact the swine industry in the future,” said National Pork Board President Derek Sleezer, a pork producer from Cherokee, Iowa. “We have an ongoing obligation to producers to help develop the next generation of pork producers. The goal is to ensure a sustainable source of leaders who will be ready to produce safe, wholesome food in a socially responsible way.”

This year’s top candidates were Taylor Homann and Kyle Anderson, who will receive $5000 and $3500 scholarships, respectively. Homann, a senior at the University of Minnesota, is majoring in animal science. She plans to continue her academic career by pursuing a doctor of veterinary medicine degree in the fall. Anderson, a junior at Kansas State University, has worked at the university’s feed mill and would like to pursue a career as a mill manager after graduation. The remaining award recipients will receive $2000 each.

For more information, contact Chris Hostetler at or 515-223-2606.

Webinars: Alternatives to antibiotics in swine feed

The Animal Science Committee of the National Pork Board is once again hosting their annual research Webinar series. The theme of this year’s series is “Alternatives to Antibiotics in Swine Feed.” As producers prepare for the reduced availability and flexibility of using feed-grade antibiotics due to the new FDA regulations, many are looking for suitable alternatives to keep their pigs healthy. This Webinar series will highlight the results of some of the Checkoff-funded research projects in the area of reproductive efficiency. The schedule and topics are as follows:

August 2: Dr Hans Stein – Management guide for reduced usage of antibiotics in swine production. Pigs will have different management requirements when raised without antibiotics for growth promotion.

August 9: Dr Robin Anderson – Efficacy of thymol. Thymol is a natural compound that has potent antimicrobial activity under laboratory conditions; however, will it work when fed to pigs?

August 16: Dr William Oliver – Feeding lysozyme to disease-challenged pigs. These research results show that pigs fed lysozyme have performance comparable to that of pigs fed antibiotics.

August 23: Dr Crystal Levesque – Use of microbially-converted soybean meal in nursery diets. Microbially-converted soybean meal may be used as a suitable replacement for fishmeal in nursery diets and supports gut health.

The Webinars will be held each Tuesday during the month of August at noon Central Time and are free to the public, but do require participants to pre-register. The link to register for these Webinars can be found at

For more information, contact Chris Hostetler at or 515-223-2606.

PQA Plus outlines paths to good swine health

Through its Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA Plus) program, the Pork Checkoff is reminding pork producers that antibiotics are just one tool in a producer’s animal health plan, which includes proper nutrition, clean water, air ventilation, temperature management, animal housing maintenance, animal care, and even genetics.

Dr Jennifer Koeman, Pork Checkoff’s director of producer and public health, says vaccinations are a key to keeping pigs healthy. “They must be used at the right time, on the right organisms,” she said. “Along with heightened biosecurity measures to minimize the pathogens that animals encounter, this should go a long way to protecting pig health.”

The PQA Plus program outlines steps for responsible antibiotic use, which can help minimize the potential risk of resistance developing within a herd. Here are points to consider:

•  Use antibiotics for treatment only when there’s an appropriate clinical diagnosis supported by clinical signs, necropsy, laboratory tests, herd history, and other factors.

•  Identify factors that contribute to the cause of the disease, such as management, stressors, and pig flow, which are all a part of an accurate diagnosis.

•  Consider herd-health history along with diagnostics that include culture and sensitivity tests to help in antibiotic selection.

•  Consider group morbidity and mortality rates when deciding whether to initiate herd, group, or individual therapy.

•  Limit antibiotic treatment to ill or at-risk animals, treating the fewest animals indicated.

As always, the National Pork Board advises producers to work with their veterinarian to select the most appropriate therapy for the specific situation, as well as any antibiotic-resistance implications for your farm and human health.

For more information, contact Jennifer Koeman at or 515-223-2633.