Delegates to the recent Iowa Pork Producers Association's annual meeting took aim at Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS), passing two resolutions that could lead to eradicating the costly disease.
One resolution, submitted by the Kossuth County Pork Producers Association, supports efforts to implement a small PRRS pilot eradication project in Iowa.
The other resolution, by Hamilton County Pork Producers, would help fund a PRRS surveillance and prevalence project but would oppose government mandates involving PRRS eradication until effective management tools have been developed.
"This may be time as an industry to put the wheels in motion to deal with this disease," said Whittemore pork producer Chuck Wirtz. "There have been companies that have been successful in eradicating PRRS from their herds, but because of the movement of pigs it's difficult to keep herds clean. PRRS is costing our operation tons more money than pseudorabies ever did."
Producer Craig Rowles of Carroll said that it is time for IPPA to be more aggressive about eradicating PRRS, but it has to go beyond the sow farm and include grow finish pigs in the solution.
"Last year Iowa produced 30 million pigs, 24 million were transported into the state for grow finish," Mr Rowles said. "That population presents a very interesting dynamic. We need to give greater emphasis and we need to direct research efforts at the next dynamic which is the grow finish pig."
Gene Gourley from Hamilton County said that PRRS vaccines are not highly effective and differentiated compared to pseudorabies vaccine. Studies show that PRRS prevalence is as high as 70 per cent in market swine versus PRV which was only 30 per cent at its peak.
"Veterinarians and pork producers need a better understanding of the disease," Mr Gourley said. "I'm in favor of doing surveillance and understanding PRRS, but we have to make sure that we don't have government telling us where we can and can't move pigs at this point. It would be devastating to us to have that mandated on us."
Delegates passed a resolution that the National Pork Producers Council petition the Chicago Mercantile Exchange to revert the lean hog contract back to a live hog contact with a delivery period from 6 to 20 of the month.
Delegates supported requiring board approval of cost-share reimbursement in advance for any multi-county pork group program exceeding $6,000.
A Mahaska County resolution seeking legislation to allow pork producers to carry losses forward on their FICA taxes for a set period of time was approved.
Delegates gave thumbs up to a proposal to encourage the Iowa Legislature to restore appropriations to the Board of Regents and the Iowa Department of Agricultural and Land Stewardship to address critical agricultural issues.
A resolution that IPPA, the National Pork Board and the National Pork Producers Council invest additional resources in a strong pork industry image campaign was approved.
Delegates supported a Chickasaw County resolution asking the Iowa Legislature to approve net metering for agricultural owners of electrical generation equipment.
Following a lengthy discussion, delegates agreed to continue last year's policy that the national checkoff remain at 40 cents for $100 of gross market value. Delegates to this year's National Pork Forum had asked for guidance.
- By Jean Caspers-Simmet
Source : AgriNews