The U.S. Department of Agriculture this month is starting the second phase of its study taking an in-depth look at swine operations.
The 2021 Swine Enterprise Study is being conducted by USDA’s National Animal Health Monitoring System and National Agricultural Statistics Service. The aim is to gather data to benefit swine producers by exploring current production practices, countering consumer misinformation, helping to guide public policy and both public and private research benefiting the industry, and more. Responses are kept completely confidential and no data will be tied to a producer’s name or contact information.
One part of the study focuses specifically on operations with fewer than 1,000 pigs and includes about 5,000 producers in 38 states, including Pennsylvania. This part of the study involves only one phase, which began in June.
The other part has two phases. It examines operations with more than 1,000 pigs and includes about 2,700 producers from 13 states, including Pennsylvania. NASS notified selected operations and conducted interviews this summer. Now, the study shifts into the second phase which includes a follow-up interview and collection of biologic samples if allowed by the producer.
State field staff will contact the operation (via a parent company representative, if applicable) and ask permission to contact the site and to do biologics collections on those sites that have finishing pigs. If consent is given, field staff will then call the site contacts to try to set up an interview. If the site has finishing pigs they will ask about biologics collections. Due to the need for strict biosecurity protocols in light of the threat of African Swine Fever, site employees will likely be asked to do the collections with directions from USDA.
Producers are encouraged to respond as the study is intended to benefit the industry. In addition to objectively measuring how producers’ livelihoods were affected in 2020 and gathering information to better inform public policy, the study will provide accurate information about animal welfare and production practices to better inform consumers and push back against misinformation.
For more information, contact USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s Charles Haley at 970.225.1377 or firstname.lastname@example.org.