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Swine & U column: Be prepared for the unexpected

By Sarah Schieck Boelke, UMN Extension swine educator
Originally printed in The LAND - as July 5, 2024, Swine & U column

Are you and your farm prepared for the unexpected? An example is a Foreign Animal Disease (FAD) or another disease that may need a response from Regulatory Officials such as local, state, tribal and federal officials. Or the unexpected could be that you are unexpectedly not around to do the day-to-day work around the farm and another person needs to suddenly step in to cover or take over completely. There are many resources available for the pork industry to be prepared for the unexpected. Many of the resources are free and have been developed with input by pork producers. It just takes planning and time on your part to be prepared before a crisis.

Secure Pork Supply

Secure Pork Supply (SPS) plan gives pork producers, of any size or farm type, the opportunity to voluntarily prepare for a FAD outbreak. The SPS plan was created with funding from Pork Checkoff and the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

During a FAD outbreak, Regulatory Officials will set up a control area around the infected farm premise in order to quarantine and restrict the movement of livestock. Animals within the control area will only be able to move with a permit. Movement permits will be given only if a premise can demonstrate they are following protocols that reduce the risk of disease spread when moving animals. During a FAD outbreak, the SPS plan will prepare pork producers with an enhanced biosecurity plan to follow so if they have uninfected pigs, the farm will have a better chance of obtaining a movement permit to move pigs off the premise for processing or to another farm premise.

How to Create a Secure Pork Supply Plan

The SPS plan has several components to it, but if producers break down those components into different steps it can make the task of creating their SPS plan more manageable.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the Secure Pork Supply plan at Check out the many resources available, including the SPS plan summary, overview video, recorded webinar, and numerous other resources.
  2. Validate your premises; obtain a National Premise Identification Number (PIN) for your farm site, and print a map of your farm site(s). If you have multiple farm (building) sites, each site needs its own PIN.
  3. Locate and compile records: Logbooks, CVI’s (certificate of veterinary inspection), and SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures). Logbook records include people entry logs, vehicle and equipment entry logs, and animal movements. Records include checking bait stations, training documentation, and employee and visitor arrival agreements. Standard Operating Procedures are needed for the day to day activities on the farm, which should include delivery protocols for feed, equipment, and semen.
  4. Write and implement an enhanced site-specific biosecurity plan for each farm site.
  5. Create and label a map of the farm premise that is consistent with the farm’s enhanced biosecurity plan.
  6. Identify a biosecurity manager for the farm to train everyone working on the farm in biosecurity and train folks to monitor for Foot and Mouth Disease, Classical Swine Fever, and African Swine Fever.

Use RABapp to create Farm Specific Secure Pork Supply Plan

The Rapid Access Biosecurity app (RABapp) was developed by Dr. Gustavo Machado, North Carolina State University Associate Professor of Transboundary disease epidemiology in the Population Health and Pathobiology department. RABapp was designed to assist pork producers, regardless of size and type of farm, in developing enhanced biosecurity plans to align with Secure Pork Supply and state animal health official’s criteria.

Minnesota does have a signed agreement with RABapp. Meaning that the Minnesota Board of Animal Health recognizes Secure Pork Supply plans created under the guidance of RABapp. To learn more about RABapp visit

University of Minnesota Extension Swine Educators Diane DeWitte ( or 507-384-1745) and Sarah Schieck Boelke ( or 320-235-0726 ext.2004) are also available to assist producers with their Secure Pork Supply plans.

Record Pig Movement with AgView

AgView is a free web-based application created with funding from Pork Checkoff. AgView is available for pork producers of all sizes and types to provide disease status updates and pig movements in a readily available form to share with state animal health officials during a FAD or other disease outbreak.

Many producers are already using AgView to track pig movements and record disease status. Much of the records are already needed for Secure Pork Supply so farms that are keeping these records, can upload them into AgView for easy sharing. AgView can also be used by farms needing to get in compliance with keeping pig movement records and disease status records. Producers can upload data directly or work with National Pork Board to connect their record platform using an application programming interface for seamless upload and sharing during a disease event. Producers own the data they share in AgView and control when data is shared with state animal health officials and others. During a disease event, AgView helps connect the state veterinarians, producers, and others with the necessary information to make sound decisions quickly.

To learn more about AgView, request an account, or request a no-cost, no-obligation demonstration visit

Certified Swine Sample Collector

Certified Swine Sample Collector (CSSC) is within the training and disease monitoring component of SPS. Specifically, CSSC is training to train folks within the pork industry to correctly collect, handle, and submit samples prior to and during a disease outbreak. CSSCs are trained by category II accredited veterinarians. Currently, in the United States, swine-focued veterinarians collect and/or oversee the collection of swine samples for diagnostics and surveillance testing for domestic diseases on farm sites. During a large-scale FAD outbreak, swine veterinarians will be in high demand so trained CSSC would be called upon to collect diagnostic and surveillance samples for testing on behalf of the swine veterinarians.

To learn more about CSSC visit

US Swine Health Improvement Plan

The U.S. Swine Health Improvement Plan (US SHIP) establishes a national playbook of standards for the pork industry to monitor African Swine Fever and Classical Swine Fever. It was approved by pork producers with input from delegates. It is based on the already existing programs of SPS, AgView and CSSC to support standards of biosecurity, traceability and disease surveillance.

To enroll and become US SHIP certified farms should:
  • Contact the US SHIP Official State Agency in the state the participating premise is located in. For swine premises in Minnesota, folks should contact the Minnesota Board of Animal Health ( to complete an enrollment application form. There are separate forms for enrolling a single premise or multiple premises.
  • Complete the biosecurity enrollment survey that is provided after a farm submits its enrollment application.
  • Show the ability to provide 30 days of pig movement records in an electronic format. AgView can be used for this.
  • Once enrolled maintain communication with state animal health officials if any changes occur. Farms with pigs in Minnesota are to communicate with the Minnesota Board of Animal Health.
For more information about US SHIP visit

Livestock Contingency Plans

Do you have a plan in place if something were to happen to you, whether you experience illness, injury or another emergency situation where you can not perform the day to day activities on your farm? Do you have standard operating procedures written for daily pig and barn care, feeding and watering or other day to day activities on your farm that family or employees working for you, can follow in your absence? If not, you should develop a contingency plan at the minimum. Then work towards writing standard operating procedures for the different activities done regularly to care for your pigs.

University of Minnesota Extension Livestock Educators have created a template for a basic livestock contingency plan that outlines essential livestock care if the owner or person who usually provides essential care experiences illness, injury, or another emergency that prohibits them from providing the essential care. The livestock contingency plan templates, including the swine specific one, can be found at

The contingency plans are meant to cover essential care only and are not intended to serve as a comprehensive care plan. For templates on developing more specific standard operating procedures visit National Pork Board’s webpage at

There are a lot of resources for pig farmers to prepare for the unexpected. Especially when preparing for a FAD or other disease event. It is better to take the time to prepare now than it is to wait until a crisis.


Secure Pork Supply. (2024). Retrieved June 18, 2024, from

National Pork Board (2024, June). AgView. Retrieved from

Machado lab: Disease transmission, animal health. (2024). The Rapid Access Biosecurity (RAB) app. Retrieved June 20, 2024 from

Secure Pork Supply. (2024, June). Certified Swine Sample Collector. Retrieved from

U.S. Swine Health Improvement Plan. (2024). US SHIP. Retrieved June 21, 2024, from

Minnesota Board of Animal Health. (2024, June). Swine: Swine Health Improvement Plan (SHIP). Retrieved from

Sarah Schieck Boelke is a University of Minnesota Extension Educator specializing in swine. Her email address is

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