USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced mandatory reporting of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) cases, and since then, producers and politicians alike have raised concern about the reporting program.
Iowa Congressman Steve King raised concern about the possibility of producer confidentiality breaches and the possibility of activists using the information against the pork industry.
“I’m also concerned about the federal records that would be compiled by this order. Do we have protection for our producers or are we going to see animal rights people capitalize on this particular disease?” King told WNAZ Radio 570.
Confidentiality concerns are valid in the wake of 2013’s breach by the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA publicly released personal information about thousands of farmers and ranchers and their families in response to Freedom of Information Act requests made by environmental organizations. A bill introduced earlier this year would prohibit the EPA from releasing producers’ private information into the public domain.
As more details about the mandatory PEDv reporting requirements are released, more groups are working to re-assure producers that their information is safe.
Minnesota Pork Producers Executive Director Dave Preisler explained his goal in make the reporting process simple while protecting producer confidentiality.
“Only if the herd is positive, what will be submitted would be their premises ID number, the date the sample was collected, the type of farm, the test method used to make that diagnosis and the actual diagnostic test results,” Preisler said. “That is why we are looking at approaching it from just reporting the premises ID number. One of the things that we do have in Minnesota is state law for protections for confidentiality for farmers.”