by BETTER FARMING STAFF
The Ontario Pork Industry Council's swine health advisory board is launching a program to tackle a disease that takes a huge toll on hog production.
The program builds on a pilot in operation in the Niagara Region for the past two years where 76 producers have worked together and with industry professionals to control PRRS (porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome) outbreaks. The disease causes reproductive failure in breeding stock and respiratory tract illness in young pigs. Lori Moser, managing director of the Ontario Pork Industry Council, notes a recent study estimated the disease annually costs the Canadian industry $130 million.
Moser says the two-year program will offer support to small groups of producers who share information and work together to identify a goal they want to achieve. “We will work with their area veterinarian as well as people from our swine health board to assess their risks,” she explains. On-farm risk and regional risk assessments will be conducted.
Unlike the pilot, slated for completion later this year, producers will define the terms of the project they would like to work on. “We’re taking groups that are motivated and saying, OK, let’s make a difference,” Moser says. “We can help you with diagnostics, we can help you with a farm plan, a regional plan. We can assess your risks for disease transmission and help you come up with creative solutions.
Moser says she has already received inquiries about the program, which was announced on Wednesday at the Southwest Agricultural Conference.
It will be funded by a $294,500 federal grant under the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program, announced at the conference on Wednesday by Chatham - Kent - Essex MP Dave Van Kesteren.
The ultimate goal is for the projects to “gain a life of their own” after the program wraps up, Moser says.
For more information or an application, contact Moser at 519-684-6805 or firstname.lastname@example.org BF