It may seem like 2012 is a long way off, but preparations for the fifth national swine study to be conducted by USDA's National Animal Health Monitoring System-- or NAHMS-- is already underway. In fact, USDAwants pork producers' participation for its survey to be the valuable information source it has evolved into over the years. The NAHMS swine study will work in collaboration with the National Agriculture Statistics Service.

“Pork producer input is essential if we are to address specific needs and information gaps of those involved in swine production and research,” says Eric Bush, DVM, NAHMS swine commodity specialist.

 NAHMS provides stakeholders in private and public sectors with valuable information on disease occurrence, exposure to disease agents, management practices, productivity, knowledge gaps and other important topics of concern to U.S. livestock industries.

As with the four previous NAHMS national swine studies, NAHMS Swine 2012 will be national in scope, collaborative in nature and voluntary. Data collected during the study will be strictly confidential and used to generate scientifically based and statistically valid national estimates, which will be used for education, research and policy development, Bush notes.

Once the 2012 study is complete, pork producers and other industry partners will be able to access the results to gain perspective on the industry and for their own use in planning and comparisons. Results from previous NAHMS national swine studies are available at:   http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/nahms/swine/index.shtml

So to participate, all a pork producer has to is complete the short needs-assessment questionnaire between April 1 and June 30,  which is accessible at: http://nahms.aphis.usda.gov/survey_monkey.