Biosecurity Preparedness, Infectious Disease Prevention, and Farmer Training on Northern New England Swine Farms

Project Overview

ONE20-364
Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2020: $29,270.00
Projected End Date: 05/31/2022
Grant Recipient: Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
Region: Northeast
State: Maine
Project Leader:
Carolyn Hurwitz
Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
Co-Leaders:
Carol Delaney, M.S.
Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry

Commodities

  • Animals: swine

Practices

  • Animal Production: animal protection and health

    Proposal abstract:

    Most Northern New England swine producers raise their pigs outdoors, feed human food waste products and allow domestic swine to comingle with wildlife and other livestock species. These practices are contrary to the recommended biosecurity practices which are already in place in the Midwestern hog industry. This “transitional” style hog management leaves Northern New England producers vulnerable to the threat of disease introduction in their herds. Unrecognized local infectious diseases threats may play a role in the general failure of these transitional swine producers to practice good biosecurity. The objectives of this project are to analyze and improve the behaviors of Northern New England transitional swine producers relative to infectious disease biosecurity management. A swine disease surveillance study will run parallel to the biosecurity practice analysis to provide the basis for creating outreach materials for preventative herd health management. The results of individual herd disease surveillance studies will reinforce the importance of biosecurity practice and the collective results will provide accurate, regionally specific disease prevalence information to industry support groups such as veterinarians, Cooperative Extensions and Departments of Agriculture in Northern New England. This proposed swine health study will generate novel data that will inform determination of best biosecurity practice given the regional resources and disease threats, and train farmers in practices that will sustain the health of their herds, who are the basis of their commercial existence. This information will be distributed through professional and industry meetings, digital publication and Extension workshops.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The primary objective  is to analyze and improve the behaviors of Northern New England transitional swine producers relative to infectious disease biosecurity management.  Producers will be trained on effective principles of biosecurity tailored to their farm’s infrastructure and goals.

    The secondary objective of surveying the regional swine herd for endemic infectious disease will provide the basis to create outreach materials for preventative herd health management. The results of individual herd disease surveillance studies will reinforce the importance of biosecurity practice and the collective results will provide accurate, regionally specific disease prevalence information to industry support groups such as veterinarians, Cooperative Extensions and Departments of Agriculture in Northern New England.

    If this project is successful swine producers in the region will have the tools necessary to maintain or improve their swine herd’s health and productivity, even in the face of emerging and endemic diseases. Farmers will be armed with known methods for preventing locally identified infectious diseases and possible, future FAD introductions. Lastly, the results of this study may be utilized to provide an accurate representation of the Northern New England swine herd and may serve as a model for use in other states with a robust transitional swine industry.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.