DES MOINES – The National Pork Board's board of directors approved $15 million in funding for a new Swine Health Information Center. The center will be a resource for implementing industry preparedness for swine diseases. The investment will fund the center for five years.

“Although this is a one-time allocation of supplemental funds outside of our regular budget, we realize that this is an investment in the future of the US pork industry,” said Dale Norton, NPB president and pork producer from Bronson, Mich. “In the coming months, we will reach out to producers, gather their input and design a center that best meets their needs.”

Dr. Paul Sundberg, vice president of science and technology at NPB, said the center will be governed by a board consisting of representatives from the National Pork Board, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) and at-large pork producers. Additionally, the center will work with the Institute for Animal Diseases at Texas A&M Univ. to facilitate swine health data analysis.

“It’s our intention to establish a center that can improve our preparedness for swine diseases with the combined resources of swine veterinarians, producers, researchers, diagnosticians and state and federal animal health officials,” Sundberg said. “We have learned a lot over the past year and a half from our experience with Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus and we want to create a unique, collaborative system that will help us achieve our overall goal of preparing for the next emerging swine disease.”

Sundberg added that the new center would not be specifically responsible for a disease response plan. The US Department of Agriculture will continue to oversee and manage classical foreign animal diseases that already have preparedness plans in place.