Glacier FarmMedia COVID-19 & the Farm

Feds move hog circovirus strategy forward

The federal government has laid out the funding for the second phase of its four-year disease risk management initiative for the hog sector.

When it announced the $76 million, four-year plan in August 2007, phase one included funding for a circovirus inoculation program to help farmers offset some of the costs of diagnostic fees and vaccines.

That program “basically halved the cost of administering the necessary vaccine to their pork herds,” said Pierre Lemieux, parliamentary secretary to Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, quoted Tuesday on the hog industry-sponsored program Farmscape.

Phase two, announced Monday in Stratford, Ont., pledges “nearly $40 million” from the $76 million fund for three types of activities.

First is the development of a national standard of biosecurity best management practices for the hog industry, aimed at either containing or eradicating porcine circovirus associated diseases (PCVAD).

The $40 million will also back research projects and co-ordination of the reporting of research related to PCVAD and “other emerging diseases within the Canadian hog herd,” the government said Monday.

Also, as pledged in August 2007, some of the funding is to go to establish “long-term risk management solutions for the hog industry.

In short, Ontario MP Lemieux said on Farmscape, “what we want to do is basically study and understand better how the circovirus is showing up in these swine herds, what kind of things can be done to mitigate the spread, to mitigate the risk and what sorts of best practices can we implement and can pork producers implement to help prevent against the spreading of the circovirus.

“It would be financially beneficial to pork producers if they did not have to vaccinate their herds at all.”

Canada’s hog sector has been “dramatically impacted” by PCVAD, said Florian Possberg, chairman of the Canadian Swine Health Board and deputy chairman of Big Sky Farms at Humboldt, Sask., in the government’s release.

This initiative, he said, “will serve to further improve the capability of the industry to react swiftly to emerging animal health challenges.”

“For our producers, there is the ever-present threat of foreign animal disease outbreak and present-day animal health challenges and today’s announcement responds to the urgent need to make sure the right tools are available to keep diseases from affecting the Canadian swine population,” Canadian Pork Council president Jurgen Preugschas said in a separate release.

To further address animal health issues such as PCVAD, the council and other industry partners have created “a board to co-ordinate and to deliver, at the national level, initiatives relative to the health of swine in Canada,” said Preugschas, who farms at Mayerthorpe, Alta.

“We are looking forward to the board’s first national stakeholder meeting in July.”

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