For immediate release: December 15, 2021

Ames, Iowa – The National Pork Board announced an additional $15 million investment of Pork Checkoff funds in the Swine Health Information Center (SHIC), extending funding for the center through 2027. Launched with Checkoff funds in 2015, SHIC works to protect and enhance the health of the United States swine herd through coordinated global disease monitoring, targeted research investments that minimize the impact of future disease threats and analysis of swine health data.

“SHIC provides value to the entire pork industry through targeted disease research programs,” says Gene Noem, National Pork Board president and SHIC board member. “Specifically, SHIC is able to conduct and source research for emerging health issues from a network of academia, veterinary service and diagnostic labs and researchers across the globe.”

Several essential programs to keeping the US swine herd safe from emerging global diseases have been developed by SHIC, including:

Near real-time domestic and global swine disease reports
Viral and bacterial swine disease matrices, providing a prioritized list of endemic and foreign swine pathogens
Diagnostic fee assistance to help identify newly introduced or emerging diseases
Rapid Response Program to investigate transboundary or newly emerging swine diseases with the Rapid Response Corps, a team of experts to analyze the patterns, causes and effects of health and disease conditions in affected herds

“In the very short time we’ve been in existence, we have come to play such a vital role in helping defend the health of our industry. Since receiving initial funding from the National Pork Board, we have filled a void and been very successful. We’re committed to protecting the US pig population,” remarked Daryl Olsen, DVM, AMVC, Audubon, Iowa, SHIC board chair.

SHIC has also been involved in foreign animal disease (FAD) work, including a Biosecurity Risk Assessment. Released in September 2021 and conducted by EpiX Analytics, LLC, this report looked at eight potential pathways, and found no major areas have been overlooked to prevent the introduction of African swine fever (ASF) to the US. Other vulnerabilities, such as feed ingredients being imported from ASF-positive countries and illegal or out-of-regulatory-compliance garbage feeding, were also identified by the study as areas for the pork industry to continue working to address.

For feed risk to be approached with sound science, SHIC has pursued a breadth of research and information. These projects include viral survivability in feed ingredient research, half-life estimates for ASF and foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) leading to holding time information, supporting laboratory extraction research for PCRs, documenting sources and quantities of imported feed ingredients and continuing to gather information that can help fill gaps in risk assessments.

SHIC is governed by a Board of Directors and functions with two Working Groups. These swine disease experts include practitioners, diagnosticians, academicians, producers, and other industry experts. SHIC Executive Director Paul Sundberg, DVM, PhD, DACVPM, guides the Center’s work, which is informed by an annual Plan of Work. SHIC is focused on domestic and global emerging swine disease. Due to the Center’s organization, it can move quickly on needed research, diagnostics and response.

SHIC, launched by the National Pork Board in 2015 solely with Pork Checkoff funding, continues to focus efforts on prevention, preparedness, and response to novel and emerging swine disease for the benefit of US swine health. As a conduit of information and research, SHIC encourages sharing of its publications and research. Forward, reprint, and quote SHIC material freely. SHIC is funded by America’s pork producers to fulfill its mission to protect and enhance the health of the US swine herd. For more information, visit https://www.swinehealth.org or contact Dr. Sundberg at psundberg@swinehealth.org.