The U.S. pork industry is moving forward with efforts to implement a mandatory swine identification system in advance of USDA's timeframe for the National Animal Identification System implementation plan announced last week.

The pork industry has had an effective ID system in place since 1988, which was used to successfully eradicate pseudorabies. A swine identification implementation task force, involving National Pork Producers Council and National Pork Board members, is working to enhance that system to meet NAIS objectives-- mainly, the ability to trace animals back to their farm of origin within 48 hours in the event of an animal disease issue.

Last Thursday, USDA Secretary Mike Johanns released the agency’s NAIS implementation plan, which includes timelines and benchmarks. It calls for a metadata base that will allow federal, state and local animal-health officials access to species-specific private databases for information to conduct 48-hour trace backs.

“We are encouraged that USDA supports a species-specific approach to animal ID,” says NPPC President Joy Philippi, a pork producer from Bruning, Neb., “and we will continue to focus on implementing a national swine ID program for purposes of protecting herd health and as a tool for managing a foreign animal disease outbreak.”

Philippi points out that modern U.S pork production practices already allow the industry to conduct 48-hour trace backs. To enhance that ability and to implement the pork-specific plan, the swine ID task force and industry stakeholders urge all pork producers to register their premises, a task they hope will be completed by December 2007.

“Premises registration will help us trace back to a specific location so a quick, appropriate response to an animal health emergency can help protect our operations,” says Philippi.

NPPC will encourage and assist producers to register their premises at this year’s World Pork Expo June 8-10 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.

National Pork Producers Council