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U.S. pig farmers continue focus on antibiotic stewardship

17 November 2017

America’s 60,000 pig farmers continue to make progress in their quest for superior antibiotic stewardship to help protect people, pigs and the planet. On their behalf, the National Pork Board is pleased again to celebrate U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week and World Antibiotic Awareness Week with organizations such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Antibiotic Awareness Week - Potk Checkoff

National Pork Board President, Terry O’Neel, a pig farmer from Friend, Nebraska, welcomed Antibiotic Awareness Week:

This week of antibiotic awareness is a good time for those of us in the pork industry to reflect on our long history of accomplishments with antibiotics, such as using these medications responsibly and embracing the updated Pork Quality Assurance® Plus (PQA Plus®) certification program.

As pig farmers, we are aware of issues such as antibiotic resistance, and we are dedicated to working hard to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics, both on the farm and in human medicine.

Heather Fowler, D.V.M., Director of Producer and Public Health with the National Pork Board, explained how farmers must understand their key role a part of the One Health approach to antibiotic stewardship. She also noted the Pork Board approving a Checkoff investment of more than $6 million for antibiotic-related studies since 2000, which includes novel work on antibiotic usage standards and metrics.

At the national level, the Pork Checkoff has been very active in its ongoing mission of education and outreach to all audiences about how America’s pig farmers are progressing on antibiotic stewardship. During 2017, the National Pork Board hosted a live webcast that brought together experts in farming, veterinarian medicine and the retail and foodservice industries. This event drew more than 60,000 online viewers, with 400 pork producers in the studio audience. A replay of the broadcast can be viewed online at RealChangeOnFarms.org. The Checkoff also participated in a panel discussion at the annual Global Ag Investing conference in New York City to address the shared responsibility of antibiotic use in both animal and human health. Closer to home, the National Pork Board hosted an Iowa farm tour with 20 National Press Foundation journalist fellows.

From a producer perspective, O’Neel said 2017 has been another milestone in antibiotic stewardship:

Last January, the implementation of Guidance 209 and 213 that expanded the Veterinary Feed Directive and eliminated the growth-promotion use of medically important antibiotics took effect.

While some of our detractors may have been expecting chaos on our farms, we proved them wrong. America’s pig farmers simply did what we always have done. We stepped up and demonstrated our competency to practice good antibiotic stewardship and our ongoing dedication to doing what’s right for people, pigs and the planet.

 

As reported by Pork Checkoff



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