National Pork Board launches AgView to help US pork respond to FAD outbreaks

AgView is a new US platform that identifies relevant pig movement data and diagnostic test results during an outbreak of ASF or another FAD
calendar icon 11 November 2020
clock icon 6 minute read
Dave Pyburn, chief veterinarian at the National Pork Board, speaks to The Pig Site's Sarah Mikesell about AgView, a new platform that allows for the rapid and accurate visualization of relevant pig movement data and diagnostic test results during an outbreak of ASF or another FAD

While any FAD outbreak on even a single farm would be devastating, the potential collective losses are staggering. According to a recent study[1] from Iowa State University, an outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) in the United States could cost the pork industry $50 billion over 10 years.

AgView is a web-based program that can help out state veterinarians and USDA immensely if we ever do get a foreign animal disease in the US,” said Dave Pyburn, chief veterinarian at the National Pork Board. “AgView is a system that's designed to enable participating producers to easily input data about their farms. It includes premise identification data, diagnostic data and pig movement data, so we can have that information for pig contact tracing for any disease outbreak. Along with their Secure Pork Supply data, it can all be stored in AgView. It’s held only so producers can see it until they give permission for it to be seen at the time of an outbreak.”

If a foreign animal disease outbreak occurs in the US, this data will be valuable and necessary as the US looks to get business continuity restarted domestically and to also get exports restarted regionally and internationally.

“AgView is designed to help the state veterinarians and USDA to get a better handle on a foreign animal disease outbreak, regionalize it more quickly and get us back into some semblance of business continuity, even though we're still dealing with a foreign animal disease outbreak,” said Dr. Pyburn.

Producer’s role in AgView

AgView is an opt-in, free-to-use program for producers, and ideally the industry needs the producer data entered now, ahead of an outbreak. Then if an outbreak occurs, producer data is readily accessible to state veterinarians when it's permissioned by the producer, and decisions can start immediately.

“It's going to be key when we have a foreign animal disease outbreak that we can very quickly figure out where it is and where it's not, then concentrate on those areas where the disease might be, so we can establish control zones and can get quicker control of the disease to ensure it doesn't spread any farther,” he explained.

State veterinarians have quarantine authority in the face of an outbreak, so they will have permitting authority to get business continuity and pig movements restarted. The National Pork Board has been working with state veterinarians to demonstrate the program and invite them to set up their accounts to start working with and learning the software.

The next step for producers is to set up their accounts and start uploading their information, so it’s ready in case of an outbreak.

Lessons learned

“This is one of those situations where this data is going to be needed. Luckily for our industry, we haven't had to deal with a foreign animal disease in the recent past, but other industries have like poultry have,” he noted.

“When dealing with Exotic Newcastle Disease and High Path Avian Influenza, there really wasn't a good way to transfer this data from producers to state veterinarians so they could make risk decisions. That concern was what started Secure Pork Supply and led to starting AgView. Being able to display the Secure Pork Supply information is how can we enable this data to be present and held securely, and upon permissioning by producers, to be seen by state veterinarians so they can make those decisions.”

AgView, as a single software platform developed through the Pork Checkoff, allows for the rapid and accurate visualization of relevant pig movement data and diagnostic test results to create visibility, accountability and trust during an outbreak of ASF or another FAD.

To make this easier for producers, and ensure data is up to date, AgView can integrate with many existing record-keeping systems for easy synchronization. For those who do manual record-keeping, AgView also accepts imports from an Excel template.

“We've already shown it to the beef industry and to the dairy industry. They've got their own secure food supply programs as well,” he noted. “They've got the same issues that we've got as far as being able to show data in the face of an outbreak, and they have an incredible interest already in AgView. So this may go well beyond just pork in the future.”

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[1] This study is an update to “Economy Wide Impacts of a Foreign Animal Disease in the United States” published in 2011 and funded by the National Pork Board. This update was funded by Iowa State University and BarnTools, a digital biosecurity platform company.

Sarah Mikesell


Sarah Mikesell grew up on a five-generation family farming operation in Ohio, USA, where her family still farms. She feels extraordinarily lucky to get to do what she loves - write about livestock and crop agriculture. You can find her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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