USDA to conduct surveys on small and large swine operations

Study objectives were developed based on multiple focus group discussions with industry.

Krissa Welshans, Livestock Editor

February 22, 2021

3 Min Read
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From July 2021 through January 2022, the USDA’ National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS), in collaboration with the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), will conduct its sixth national study of U.S. large enterprise swine operations. The study will take an in-depth look at U.S. swine operations with 1,000 or more pigs and provide new information regarding health and management practices in the U.S. swine industry.

Approximately 2,700 operations will be selected from 13 of the nation’s top swine-producing states, representing about 90% of U.S. swine operations with 1,000 or more pigs.

USDA said the Swine 2021 Large Enterprise study is designed to provide participants and industry stakeholders with benchmarking information on the U.S. swine industry. Information collected will contribute to critically important epidemiologic surveillance that will inform disease management and preparedness strategies to safeguard the swine industry.

Study objectives were developed based on multiple focus group discussions with industry (representatives from the National Pork Board, National Pork Producers Council, and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians) and through input from industry stakeholders via an online survey. The study will:

  • Describe current U.S. swine production practices related to housing, productivity, biosecurity, and morbidity and mortality prevention

  • Determine the producer-reported prevalence of select pathogens in weaned market pigs

  • Describe antimicrobial stewardship and use patterns

  • Evaluate the presence of select economically important pathogens, and characterize isolated organisms from biological specimens

Participating in any NAHMS study is voluntary. If selected to participate in the Swine 2021 study, producers who decide to participate will answer questions that will represent many other producers in that state.

For producers that fully participate in the study, free Salmonella, E. coli, Campylobacter, and Enterococcus fecal cultures and antimicrobial susceptibility testing will be offered for grower/finisher pigs. In addition, oral fluid test results regarding the prevalence Seneca Valley virus (SVV) will be offered for grower/finisher pigs. Testing for SVV provides valuable aggregate data that can be analyzed across the swine industry.

Representatives from NASS will visit participating operations from July through August 2021 to complete a questionnaire. If a producer participates, USDA or state veterinary health professionals will visit you from September 2021 through January 2022 to complete a second questionnaire and discuss the free biologic testing.

Small enterprise study

USDA will survey small enterprises from May 2021 through July 2021. This will be the third national study of U.S. small enterprise swine operations (fewer than 1,000 pigs). It will provide new information regarding animal health and management practices used on these operations, as well as the alternative marketing strategies they implement. Approximately 5,000 swine operations from 38 states will be asked to participate in the study. These states account for about 95% of U.S. swine operations with fewer than 1,000 pigs.

“Small enterprise swine production is a growing sector of the U.S. swine industry due to its role as a primary supplier of many niche-market products. Small enterprise swine production in the United States is very diverse, which creates unique information needs for the industry,” USDA noted.

In May 2021, selected producers will be mailed a letter describing the study and be provided with a questionnaire to be completed and returned either by mail or web. Selected producers that don’t respond will be called by a NASS representative to arrange a convenient time to complete the questionnaire via telephone interview.

About the Author(s)

Krissa Welshans

Livestock Editor

Krissa Welshans grew up on a crop farm and cow-calf operation in Marlette, Michigan. Welshans earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Michigan State University and master’s degree in public policy from New England College. She and her husband Brock run a show cattle operation in Henrietta, Texas, where they reside with their son, Wynn.

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