The Pork Checkoff is conducting research into depopulation and euthanasia in case a industry slowdown occurs again

One of the grim points of this year was the culling of hogs when the supply chain backed up due to meat plant closures. Industry groups immediately responded.

When it became clear there would be processing plant closures during the pandemic, the Pork Checkoff quickly funded research field trials about depopulation and euthanasia.

The National Pork Board says that this research has long-term implications for the swine industry.

“What we’re seeing from these field trials is that they have provided us critical information about these various methods, which will help our industry plan for future events, should they arise,” National Pork Board’s Sara Crawford states. “That could be whether that is something like a foreign animal disease, or again, in just a time when there is an industry slowdown throughout. This could help our producers know how to work in the future.”

Crawford is the Assistant Vice President of sustainability. She says that the Pork Checkoff moved from a committee-based structure to a task force structure, which allows for a quick response.

According to Crawford, “This year, the Euthanasia and Depopulation Task Force had already funded research projects in this area, in this field of study, to learn more so that we can help in the future...when it did become clear that there was a need for more research and to help our industry, we were able to quickly and with agility fund these additional field trials.”

The results of this field trial research will be available early next year.

“The Pork Checkoff is seen as the facilitator of the task force and of this research. We are able to make connections across the various sectors of our industry and achieve more with our research funding by doing that,” she adds. “We look forward to helping our producers in the future if they have any need for the depopulation and euthanasia, and again, we are going to creating these materials and tools so that if there is a need to use these depopulation, euthanasia methods in the future, then our producers will have those.”

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