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2014 Pork Industry Scholarship Award Winners


Congratulations to the 2014 Pork Industry Scholarship winners! A total of 18 recipients were selected, hailing from 12 states and 10 universities. Several of these winners hail from the tri-state listening area (highlighted in green), with the majority of the recipients from Midwest states. 

2014 Pork Industry Scholarship Recipients


Home Town


Career Path

Dustin Compart

Nicollet, Minn.

South Dakota State University

Animal Science

Jake Erceg

Talent, Ore.

Kansas State University

Swine Nutrition

Matt Kerns

Clearfield, Iowa

Iowa State University


Alyssa Clements

Livingston, Tenn.

University of Tennessee

Animal Nutrition

Molly Frank

Dexter, Minn.

Iowa State University


Jared Mumm

Kimberly, Idaho

Kansas State University


Haley Gilleland

Fitzgerald, Ga.

University of Georgia

Animal Science

Kiah Gourley

Philomath, Ore.

Kansas State University

Swine Nutrition

Evan Koep

Lakefield, Minn.

South Dakota State University


Jordan Bjustrom

Clarksville, Iowa

Iowa State University

Swine Health

Ashalynn Bilton-Smith

Centralia, Wash.

Washington State University

Veterinary Medicine

Caitlin Hupp

Cedar Rapids, Neb.

South Dakota State University


Lauren Honegger

Forrest. Ill.

University of Illinois

Swine Nutrition

Austin Bailey

Curryville, Mo.

University of Missouri

Agriculture Education

Shelby Englert

Logansport, Ind.

Purdue University

Sales and Marketing

Cathy Bernhard

Batavia, Ill.

University of Illinois

Applied Swine Research

Emily Scholtz

Comfrey, Minn.

South Dakota State University


Wes Darcy

Forked River, N.J.

Rutgers University

Veterinary Medicine

This year's top candidates were Dustin Compart, Jake Erceg and Matt Kerns, who will each receive a $5,000 scholarship. Compart, a junior at South Dakota State University from Nicollet, Minn., plans to eventually join his family's farm, selling seedstock and branded product direct to restaurants. Erceg, a junior at Kansas State University who is from Talent, Ore., hopes to pursue a Master of Science degree in swine nutrition after completing his undergraduate degree. Kerns, a junior at Iowa State University from Clearfield, Iowa, plans to obtain his Masters of Business Administration and focus on the business side of pork production. The other 15 applicants will each be awarded $2,000.

Guy Lombardo


AM 730 KWOA and the Clay County Fair in Spencer, Iowa are proud to present: Guy Lombardo's Royal Canadian with Al Pierson!

This performance is slated for Tuesday, September 9 at 2 p.m. in the Clay County Regional Events Center Ballroom.

“Dancing the afternoon away to one of the most famous big bands in the world will be a true delight on Senior Day,” said CCF Manager Jeremy Parsons. “The air-conditioned ballroom at the Events Center will be the perfect site for the event.”

Founded in 1919, Guy Lombardo’s Royal Canadians is the longest running dance orchestra in the world with over 500 hit songs to its credit – more than any other 

orchestra in the world. Since Lombardo’s first television show in 1954, this orchestra has played for more than 1.5 billion viewers, making a New Year’s tradition out of the Scottish ballad “Auld Lang Syne.” They have sold over 500 million albums.

Ticket information will be available later this spring.

Experience all there is to do "Only at the Fair" September 6-14, 2014 in Spencer, Iowa! The Clay County Fair, "The World's Greatest County Fair" since 1917, attracts more than 300,000 people each September for unique experiences including world-class Grandstand entertainment, daily livestock and horse shows, more than $100,000 in free entertainment, thousands of competitive exhibits, the thrilling GoldStar Amusements Midway, every imaginable type of fair food, hundreds of commercial vendors and the largest farm machinery display at any fair in the United States! Every age will enjoy an “Only at the Fair” experience at the 2014 Clay County Fair.

For more information, visit

April 24 news


OCHEYEDAN, Iowa — After an autopsy, the cause of death of an Ocheyedan, Iowa man was determined to be blunt force head injuries from an accidental fall in the victim’s home. The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office investigated the death of Steven Bruce Noble, age 46, after responding to a 911 call Monday afternoon. The autopsy was performed Tuesday by Dr. Jonathan Thompson at the Iowa Office of the State Medical Examiner in Ankeny.

WORTHINGTON - Cheryl Avenel-Navara recently announced her candidacy for the District 22B House of Representatives seat. She was endorsed by the DFL District Convention in Murray County April 10.

During the 2012 election, Avenal-Navara challenged Republican Rod Hamilton, losing to the long-time representative by more than 3,000 votes.

In her comments during the recent convention, Avenel-Navara stated she is not a politician, but a citizen concerned about common sense, compromise and an emphasis on the common good.

SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa - In Dickinson County, a hearing for a proposed cattle confinement in Milford Township is scheduled for 10 a.m. May 6 during the county board of supervisors meeting.

The Dickinson County Planning and Zoning Office has received a construction permit application for a confinement feeding operation and a revised manure management plan for a new 700 head deep pit dairy cattle confinement operation and a new 300 head deep bedded dairy cattle barn for section 34 of Milford Township.

County officials say the operator is proposing to remove two existing dairy cattle bedded confinement barns and construct one new 700 bed deep pit dairy cattle confinement barn and one new 300 head deep bedded dairy cattle barn.

The animal unit capacity after expansion is projected to be 2,110 animal units, or 1,150 head of mature dairy cattle and 500 head of immature dairy cattle. They say the increase in animals resulted in the need for the operator to file a revised manure management plan reflecting additional acres.

JACKSON - An injury has forced “Bear,” the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office’s highly decorated K-9 unit dog, into a premature retirement. Jackson County Commissioners on Tuesday approved the German shepherd’s retirement at the recommendation of Jackson County Sheriff Roger Hawkinson and offered to gift the dog to his former handler on the force, Jackson County Deputy Sheriff Nick Schwalbe.

Hawkinson said nobody is quite sure how or when Bear sustained the back injury that ended his career a half-decade early. The problem was first noticed last November and, by the first of the year, Bear could hardly climb into Schwalbe’s cruiser.

TRACY – Tracy Area Public Schools is the latest to send a letter home to parents warning of the dangers of suspicious activity involving strangers and children. The letter states two rural police departments in southern Minnesota have confirmed males trying to lure young children to get in a vehicle by telling them their parents wanted him to come pick them up.

In one case, the suspect is described as a 20-year-old white male, 6 feet tall, chubby, with a mustache and a black Mohawk. The other is described as a 20 to 30-year-old male, white or light skinned, with short brown hair spiked in the front.

One vehicle was described as a gold, 4-door mid-sized sedan with a dent on the front door, the other a newer black 4-door larger car or SUV. The incidents may or may not be related. Anyone with a reason to be suspicious should contact law enforcement immediately by calling 911 or their local police department. If it is safe to do so, an attempt should be made to get a description of the suspect and vehicle, with a license plate number.

MINNESOTA - Supporters of legal marijuana packed the Minnesota Capitol rotunda Wednesday. Lawmakers are debating a bill that would legalize marijuana for medical purposes, but members of Minnesota’s Chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws are pushing a much broader effort – full legalization of marijuana. No bills have been introduced this session to legalize marijuana but Rep. Rena Moran, DFL-St. Paul, told the rally she supports it to increase state revenue and reduce arrests for possession.

Backers of medical marijuana were careful to distance themselves from the rally, but Nathan Ness, organizing director for Minnesota’s chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana laws, said there’s no reason to limit marijuana use to people who need it for medical reasons.

Both groups are at odds with police and prosecutors who don’t want to increase access to marijuana.

A Senate committee is scheduled to debate the medical marijuana bill on Friday.

MINNESOTA - The Minnesota Supreme Court Wednesday warned district court judges to be more wary when statistics are used to civilly commit people who have served their sentences for sexual crimes.

Under Minnesota law, a person can only be civilly committed as a sexual predator or “sexually dangerous person” if he is “highly likely” to commit more sexual crimes and is unable to control the urges to do so, and if there is no other alternative to confinement.

What constitutes “highly likely” has been a problem for courts since the state Supreme Court shifted the burden of proof from the inmate/patient to the authorities in the ’90s.

The court didn’t outright reject the use of a statistical model to predict the chances of a person reoffending, but it said other factors must be considered, too.
Justice Alan Page, in his concurrence, said people who are committed as sexually dangerous in Minnesota face an “impossible task.” He chided the Legislature, which has failed again this session to reform the system.

Page’s comments seem timed to pressure the Legislature to reform the sex offender program in Minnesota, after a federal judge warned the state if lawmakers don’t do it, federal courts will intervene, possibly ordering the release of hundreds of “patients.”

Last month, Gov. Mark Dayton acknowledged reform isn’t likely to be accomplished before the Legislature adjourns.

Final Decision on RFS Looming


On Earth Day, April 22nd, the The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) retroactively lowered the volume of cellulosic biofuel that refiners must blend into traditional fuels, aligning the 2013 mandated volume to the actual amount of fuels produced.

We are still awaiting the final decision on the 2014 proposed Renewable Fuel Standard from the EPA and in the meantime, in conjunction with Earth Day, the Fuels America coalition has launched a campaign to counter the U.S. oil industry's campaign against ethanol. You may see the television ad on cable, as well as online.

Have thoughts on the proposed RFS? Is the decrease in volume good or bad for our farmers, for our economy? Let us know via email at!

See video

Citywide Cleanup Days


Spring is here and with it, citywide cleanup days! Information will be posted as it becomes available, so be sure to check back if your town is not currently listed.

Citywide Cleanup Days

  • Slayton: Thursday, May 7th and Thursday, May 8th

Click for full image

  • Worthington: Monday, June 2nd

April 23 news


SLAYTON – Interim CEO John Osse is already implementing changes at the Murray County Medical Center, but he stated during Tuesday’s Hospital Board meeting he sees no reason to change the management contract between the hospital and Sanford. Citizens have suggested, petitioned for and downright demanded the contract be allowed to expire and a new one be taken up with Avera, believing the four medical staff who left the hospital would return.

Osse said the contract is set to automatically renew May 1, and that is what will happen. He has not seen any breach of contract, he added.

The contract between Osse and the hospital board states Osse will be paid a monthly fee of $15,709 and be provided housing and a vehicle, for a time period of one year.
In his first few weeks at MCMC, Osse has begun doctor recruitment, implemented exit interviews and is considering an employee survey. He has conducted a multitude of one-on-one meetings with employees, and plans to hold several group meetings with staff.

The hospital board, however, is facing their own set of problems. An inquiry for a position on the board turned ugly when a commissioner’s wife got involved. Trish Grieme, who has been one of the people actively involved in trying to get the move made from Sanford management to Avera management and is the facilitator of the Taking Back MCMC Facebook page, emailed the commissioners, expressing her interest in becoming a board member. The reply was not what she expected.

Commissioner John Giese’s wife apparently found the email request and meant to forward it to Commissioner Bob Moline. She added comments of her own, stating, “God forbid that Trish gets on the board” and “She would be detrimental to the whole thing.” She ended her comments with “that’s just plain craziness,” then signed the email.

Instead of forwarding it as she likely intended, she hit reply, sending it back to Grieme.
Needless to say, Grieme was not happy to know that her email to a county commissioner was intercepted and read by his wife, who then tried to forward it to another person while mocking the sender and adding her own comments.

When asked about the incident, Giese had no comment.

OCHEYEDAN, Iowa - The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office and the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation are investigating the death of an Ocheyedan man.

Steven Bruce Noble, 46, of Ocheyedan, was found after authorities responded to a 911 call Monday afternoon. An autopsy is being performed and the case is under investigation.

LUVERNE - The FBI asked for the public's help Tuesday to identify at least 90 potential victims of a suspected child predator who worked at 10 American and other international schools abroad for more than four decades before committing suicide last month in Minnesota.

William James Vahey, 64, killed himself in Luverne on March 21, the FBI said. That was two days after agents in Houston filed for a warrant to search a computer thumb drive that belonged to Vahey, a U.S. citizen with residences in London and Hilton Head Island, S.C. An employee of the American Nicaraguan School in Managua, where Vahey had recently taught ninth-grade world history and geography, gave the drive to the U.S. Embassy there.

The storage device contained pornographic images of at least 90 boys, ages 12 to 14, who appeared to be drugged and unconscious, the FBI said. The agency's spokeswoman in Houston, Investigators suspect all of the boys in the images were students of Vahey's, going back to 2008, and that he had molested all of them.

Vahey allegedly admitted he drugged the boys before he molested them.

FBI Special Agent Shauna Dunlap says Vahey is one of the most prolific alleged predators they have ever seen.

WORTHINGTON – The Nobles County Commissioners on Tuesday approved a $3,900 annual expense for the services of, a web based financial tracking and reporting package that will be used to improve the accountability and transparency of Nobles County finances.

The commissioners also approved an expenditure of more than $31,000 to digitalize and index tract books in the Recorders Office. The books will be scanned and indexed using two companies – Kvien Document Imaging will scan and index the books, and TriMin will import the tract book module software to LandShark, as well as provide training and maintenance.

The commissioners received a report from Nobles County Auditor-Treasurer Beth Van Hove on the wind energy tax revenue for 2014. The county receives 80 percent of the wind energy production tax revenue, amounting to $832,980, while Larkin, Worthington, Ransom, Wilmont, Summit Lake, Olney and Dewald townships will share in $208,245 in revenue.

The commissioners accepted a bid of just over $200,000 for striping services, and commended the Community Services staff for a letter from the Minnesota Department of Human Services for the perfect submittal of all 2013 quarterly fiscal reports. Nobles County Chief Deputy Chris Heinrichs was given a certificate of appreciation for his years of service in law enforcement – 15 with the city and the last 10 in Nobles County. Heinrichs’ last day of service before he enters retirement will be April 30.

UPDATE: Authorities investigate report of a stabbing


WORTHINGTON – The Worthington Police Department received a report of an injury to an adult male Tuesday in the 1100 block of Sixth Avenue at approximately 3:30 p.m. Tuesday. The initial incident report stated a male reported he had been stabbed in the stomach by two Hispanic males.

After investigating, authorities have determined that the wound was self-inflicted and that no perpetrators were involved.

Agriculture Celebrates Every Day as Earth Day


April 22nd is Earth Day! Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) encourages everyone to recognize every day as Earth Day.

"In agriculture, every day is Earth Day. April 22 is the day where we emphasize the importance of our natural resources and share agriculture's story," said MFBF President Kevin Paap. "As farmers, we pride ourselves in caring for our water, air, land and its resources. Conserving and protecting the earth for your children and ours is our top priority."

"Today's farmers produce food, fiber, feed and renewable fuel using techniques such as global positioning satellites and biotechnology," said Paap. "The Minnesota Farm Bureau is proud of the dedication and hard work of our farmer and rancher members who care for our natural resources while producing a quality, safe food supply."

"More than 1.1 million acres in the state are enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)," said Paap. "Farmers are involved in numerous conservation efforts with the goal of protecting the environment and providing habitat for wildlife."

The Minnesota Farmers Union also recognizes this important day, as MFU President Doug Peterson penned the following:

"Farmers are the original green energy, and given enough funding resources, farm efforts will create the fuel and renewable energy this nation needs. With 2014 as the International Year of the Family Farmer, it is a great opportunity to highlight the important role farmers play in renewable energy, and to promote policies of renewable energies at the global level.

Renewable fuel and energy is a win across the board. It gives family farmers and rural communities an opportunity to improve their financial base, and decrease the effects of climate change by reducing the carbon footprint and reducing greenhouse gases.

When you consider that it also makes us less reliant on foreign oil, making us a more safe and secure nation, continuing the path toward increased use of renewable energy is a means of national security. While at the World Farmers Organisation (WFO) General Assembly, National Farmers Union (NFU) was able to insert a renewable energy resolution for consideration among the WFO nations; a tremendous first step given the argument of food versus fuel. It shows acceptance, and we should be proud that NFU brought renewables forward in the global dialogue.

When considering renewable energy, I would be remiss if I did not mention renewable fuels. This is a young industry when compared to fossil fuels. We are developing scientific efficiencies to be competitive, but in reality, we are already competitive. Biofuels reduce greenhouse gases by 59 percent, with the second generation reducing greenhouse gases by 62 percent, including land use consideration. And, the biggest win is that it costs $5/tank cheaper at the pump and costs $1 per gallon less to manufacture than gasoline.

The importance of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) is apparent based on fact. It has increased net farm income by 51 percent since it was enacted. The RFS is excellent for family farmers and rural communities. Plus, it is the only fuel that allows us to meet air quality standards throughout the nation. Without renewables in gasoline, our clean air standards would not be compliant, and the Environment Protection Agency knows that.

Renewable energy may not be perfect, but I will take the first and second generation of American renewable fuel over dirty gasoline and world dominance of big oil."

Doug Peterson President
Minnesota Farmers Union
Madison, MN

A reminder that a great way to observe Earth Day for 2014 is to conserve water in any manner possible. Minnesota Energy Resources is offering all current residential natural gas customers in Worthington FREE Water Conservation Kits.

The kits include low-flow showerheads, along with kitchen and bathroom faucet aerators. These items are easy to install so you can begin saving on your home's water heating costs right away. The free kits can be ordered by visiting and clicking on FREE Water Conservation Kit or by calling 877-831-6050; the conservation kit will be delivered directly to your home.

“These water conservation kits are a nice way to celebrate 2014 by keeping a little extra money in your pockets,” says Jeff Larson, Senior External Affairs Manager at Minnesota Energy Resources. “Customers who have participated in the program have been very happy with the kits. In fact, 99% of participants surveyed indicated that they would recommend this program to others. Customers have also been pleased with our toll-free ordering service, which allows us to mail the FREE Water Conservation Kit direct to their doors after one simple call.”

In addition to the water conservation kits, Minnesota Energy Resources’ new online Home Energy Profile can help you easily understand how energy efficient your home is and how to get connected to energy efficiency rebate programs. Give it a try and learn new ways to save! Just visit

Terms & Conditions:

  • Must have a natural gas water heater to qualify
  • Must be a Minnesota Energy Resources residential customer with an existing account
  • Not available for new construction
  • Maximum order limits per household apply. (Visit us online for complete program rules at

April 22 news


WORTHINGTON – District 518 is one of 138 schools to receive a planning grant for the Safe Walk to School program, through the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
Planning grants provide funding to help analyze existing conditions, gather public input and identify infrastructure and non-infrastructure solutions at K-8 schools.

Plans will be completed by the Southwest Regional Development Commission or a planning consultant hired by MnDOT.

The district was not given a dollar amount, because MnDOT pays all expenses related to planning grants, including time put in by MnDOT employees and outside consultants.
According to School Superintendent Landgaard, the school needs to receive the planning grant before it can apply for the infrastructure grant, and that planning will continue throughout the year.

WORTHINGTON – Worthington Public Utilities Manager Scott Hain told the Water and Light Commission Monday that Well 26, used to measure water levels, has gained 11 inches in the past 6 weeks. A year ago, if gained 84 inches. In a time of year the well should be recharging, not much is happening, which is a cause for concern.

There is currently a ban on non-essential water use which prevents people from watering lawns, spraying driveways and cleaning patio furniture. If things continue to be so dry, more restrictions may be necessary, Hain said.

Tune in to AM 730 KWOA at 12:30 to hear more from Hain on Talk of the Town.

SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa - A Spirit Lake man pleaded guilty Monday in Dickinson County District Court to charges in the death of a Jackson, Minnesota woman that took place on or about December 6th, 2013 at a residence near Spirit Lake. Tailer Handsaker pleaded guilty to a charge of murder in the second degree and two counts of willful injury in the death of Sara Grimmius of Jackson. An original charge of 1st degree murder was dropped as part of a plea agreement.

Handsaker was sentenced to no more than 50 years in prison on the murder in the second degree charge. He must serve at least 70 percent of that term, or 35 years, before being eligible for parole. Handsaker was also sentenced to no more than 10 years on each count of willful injury. The terms are to be served consecutively with credit given for time already served.

Handsaker was also ordered to pay restitution to the victim's family and a crime victim's assistance fund.

Handsaker admitted Monday court he struck Grimmius in the face and skull using a pool cue and a golf club, and that he also struck her in the arm. Grimmius' body was later discovered by authorities.

Grimmius' parents addressed the court, with her mother reading a statement expressing their grief over the death of Sara and the impact it's having on her children. In addressing the court himself, Handsaker apologized for his actions.

SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa - A Spirit Lake man faces multiple charges following a pursuit early Sunday on some city streets and on Highways 9 and 71 east of town. Shortly after 2 a.m., an officer tried to pull over a minivan for a traffic violation. The driver, 33-year-old Timothy Higgins of Spirit Lake, refused to stop, leading officer on a pursuit that finally ended when a pair of stop sticks were deployed near the Jackson Y. Higgins was stopped near the Dickinson/Emmet County line when officers used a pursuit immobilization technique.

Higgins was arrested and booked into the Dickinson county jail on charges of eluding, operating while intoxicated, traveling on the wrong side of the roadway and various traffic violations.

WINDOM – A presentation called “Community Conversation about Childhood” with 2011 Minnesota Teacher of the Year Katy Smith will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, May 1 at the Windom High School lecture hall. A licensed Parent Educator and trainer for more than 25 years, Katy will share research and stories focusing on early childhood. The program is for parents, day care providers, teachers, professionals who work with children and families, and community members.

JACKSON - A St. Louis Park woman who stole her son’s old checks and used them to purchase pharmaceuticals, restaurant food and liquor will spend five years on probation and pay back nearly $300 in restitution.

Michelle E. Anderson, 38, pleaded guilty last Thursday in Jackson’s Fifth Judicial District Court to one count of felony check forgery. Judge Linda Titus granted Anderson a stay of imposition of sentence, on the condition she serve five years on supervised probation, pay restitution of $299.07 plus $90 in fees, submit a DNA sample and remain law-abiding.

The charge stemmed from a series of checks she illegally used at Jackson businesses over a period of five months, from late November 2011 to May 2012. The checks belonged to her son, she testified last Thursday in court, and she falsely endorsed them with her name to make purchases at a local pharmacy, restaurant, liquor store and two convenience stores.

MINNEAPOLIS - The Minneapolis City Council may vote this week to rename Columbus Day. A group of activists, led by new City Council Member Alondra Cano, is urging the holiday be renamed Indigenous People’s Day on all city communications.

Columbus Day is a federal holiday, and is celebrated each year on the second Monday in October to commemorate Christopher Columbus’ arrival to the Americas on October 12, 1492.

The Columbus holiday has become a source of controversy in recent years because his explorations led to European settlement of the Americas, which in turn led to the maltreatment and death of a large percentage of native people. Critics also claim Columbus did not “discover” the New World, because indigenous peoples had been living in the Americas for thousands of years before his arrival.

The campaign to change the name of the holiday gathered steam during last fall’s Minneapolis mayoral campaign. The Native American Community Development Institute hosted a forum for all the mayoral candidates, and audience members asked questions of them.

“One of them was, ‘Are you willing to un-recognize Columbus Day?’” said NACDI President and CEO Jay Bad Heart Bull. “A majority of candidates said yes, and one of them was Betsy Hodges, who was elected and is now our current mayor.”

Alondra Cano was also elected last fall, and she said the name change is more than just a symbol.

If the measure passes on Friday, in reality it won’t have much impact except for changing the name of the holiday on official city communications.

The city of Red Wing is also considering whether to change Columbus Day to “First People’s Day.”

The Red Wing City Council has yet to act on the resolution, though the chair of the human rights commission, Barbara von Haaren, said Monday that the council plans to vote on the issue on April 28.

APHIS Q&A on PEDv Control


Questions & Answers: Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus Reporting and Control

(As derived from the USDA APHIS website)

Q. What is Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv)?

A. Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea is a virus that causes signifi cant sickness in swine, affecting their growth and health, and causes high mortality in piglets. The disease is common in parts of Asia and Europe, but is not reportable to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). PEDv only affects pigs and does not pose any risk to people or pets.  It is not a food safety concern.

Q. Is PEDv found in the United States?

A. USDA confirmed the presence of PEDv in this country on May 16, 2013. As of April 5, 2014, more than 5,500 cases have been confirmed in 28 states. PEDv has significantly affected swine in the U.S.

Q. What is USDA doing about PEDv?

A. USDA agencies have monitored this disease since it was first confirmed in the U.S., and have taken many actions to address it, including:

  • Since July 2013, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has compiled data on positive cases from labs that are part of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) and created a weekly report. This report is shared with the American Association of Swine Veterinarians and is posted on their website.
  • APHIS has worked closely with the swine industry to identify risk factors in the transmission of the virus and minimize its impact on producers and industry.
  • APHIS is part of a task force, along with the FDA, as well as State and industry partners, that aims to investigate PEDv, identify and trace risk factors in the transmission of the disease, and keep producers informed. This task force has completed a number of items including establishing testing protocols, sequencing the virus, conducting two feed investigations, and more.
  • USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) has directed $540,000 in funding from the FY2014 budget to research related to PEDv.
  • ARS has also been working on a number of experimental vaccines against PEDv. So far, none of them have been approved for use, but ARS continues to work on the creation of an effective vaccine against this disease.

Q: What are USDA’s next steps?

A. Because PEDv is a persistent disease that is continuing to spread across the country, USDA is instituting a monitoring and control program. We are issuing a Federal Order that will require mandatory reporting of all herds diagnosed with PEDv. The herds are required to identify themselves and provide location information. Animal health laboratories receiving diagnostic samples are also required to provide positive tests and location information to USDA.

Q. What will the PEDv monitoring and control program look like?

A. Herds with PEDv will be required to enter the monitoring and control program. The specifi cs of the program will be developed in collaboration with state animal health officials, pork producers and swine veterinarians.

Q. What is USDA’s role in the monitoring and control program?

A. USDA will assist affected producers in the Secure Pork Supply plan by:

  • supporting herd monitoring testing at NAHLN laboratories
  • analyzing test data and movement data
  • reporting results to appropriate state animal health officials and industry representatives.

Q. What is the States’ role in the monitoring and control program?

A. We will collaborate with the States and provide funding so they can assist with verifying the required biosecurity and herd-level control practices are correctly implemented and followed.

Q. What is the industry’s role in the monitoring and control program?

A. USDA needs swine veterinarians to help us develop the monitoring and control procedures. Their field experience and expertise will help us determine:

  • how often to test herds and what samples to collect
  • what biosecurity procedures to require
  • what herd-level control procedures to require
  • how/when a herd can be released from the monitoring program.