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If You Want Equity, You Want Milk

Faced with demand that’s found its ceiling and with its sustainability and health claims coming increasingly under question, the plant-based imitation milk marketing machine is now coming for your children. Despite the critical importance of dairy nutrients to childhood development, nut-based beverage purveyors are pushing for their white-colored sugar water to have greater access to federal nutrition programs, all in the name of “equity” – an emphasis on fairness and justice that’s become an important paradigm in policy debates.

But equity, in food, requires a quality product and equality in access. And for that, milk, a natural product offered with both regular and lactose-free options, remains by far the best solution. Equity in food policy means making sure that everyone has access to the nutrients they need to thrive. The federal school lunch and breakfast programs, the WIC Program, and other initiatives are meant to ensure nutrition for all.

Lactose intolerance is a concern for populations that have higher rates of difficulty absorbing lactose, particularly African American, Asian American, American Indian and Hispanic/Latino populations. That, unfortunately, is now being used by dairy’s opponents to tout their inferior nutrition as a solution to the problem lactose intolerance.

The latest ploy among the vegan, animal rights and plant-based lobbies is to suddenly paint themselves as social justice crusaders, demanding that their nutritionally inferior (which, even when fortified, remain unequal to dairy’s unique nutritional package) products should now be treated as legitimate milk substitutes in federal nutrition programs – all the while conveniently forgetting that a widely available alternative already exists that circumvents lactose intolerance and delivers the exact same nutritional profile as milk. Because that’s what it is.

The lactose-free milk moment has arrived.

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U.S. Swine Health Improvement Plan | Made by Producers for Producers

Video: U.S. Swine Health Improvement Plan | Made by Producers for Producers

Join Jill Brokaw, a third-generation pig farmer and staff member of the National Pork Board, as she dives into the vital role of the US Swine Health Improvement Plan, also known as US SHIP. The program establishes a national playbook of standards for monitoring African swine fever and classical swine fever.

Why Should Pork Producers Care? If a disease breaks out, officials will establish a control area to help contain the disease. This plan is designed to mitigate risk and demonstrate freedom of disease at the site level. The goal is to support business continuity outside of the control area in case of an outbreak.

How Will the Pork Industry Use US SHIP? US SHIP uses already existing programs to support the standards for biosecurity, traceability and disease surveillance.

Biosecurity: This plan uses your completed Secure Pork Supply plan to demonstrate compliance with the biosecurity program standards and shows your ability to reduce the risk of disease introduction.

Traceability: AgView can be used to demonstrate compliance with the traceability standards and the ability to electronically provide State and Federal agencies the traceability information they need to determine where disease is and isn’t.

Disease Surveillance: The Certified Swine Sampler Collector Program helps expand the number of people certified to take samples. In the event of a large-scale foreign animal disease outbreak, we will need a trained group of sample collectors to help animal health officials find where the disease is present. This is to help you demonstrate freedom of disease and support the permitted movement of animals.

Getting Started with US SHIP:

1. Enroll in U.S. Swine Health Improvement Plan

2. Share 30 days of movement data

3. Have a completed Secure Pork Supply Plan

4. Become U.S. SHIP certified

5. Maintain communication with your state

Takeaway: U.S. Swine Health Improvement Plan helps safeguard animal health. Together, we're creating a sustainable future for pork production in the United States and taking steps to strengthen the business of U.S. pork producers everywhere