Highlights of Checkoff-Funded Swine Health Research
During the last five years the National Pork Board has funded over two-million-dollars in swine health research projects. There are several steps in the process for determining which projects will be funded. First, the Swine Health Committee, which is composed of producers and veterinarians, determines the industrys priorities for swine health research. A call for proposals is then issued, clearly outlining the research priorities established by the committee. All proposals received are reviewed by scientific reviewers that are selected for their expertise in the specific area of research addressed by each proposal. Finally, considering the input of the scientific reviewers and the value to the industry, the Swine Health Committee discusses the merits of each proposal and determines which proposals will receive funding. Research is funded in all areas of swine health from breeding herd syndromes to enteric diseases to emerging diseases. Additionally, the committee has occasionally allocated additional research funds in urgent situations that may negatively impact the industry, such as the occurrence of atypical PRRS observed in 1996. Several break through discoveries have been the result of funding by pork checkoff dollars. Many of the advances in knowledge, which will be outlined later in this paper, have centered around Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS). However, many significant discoveries in other areas have also resulted due to the use of checkoff dollars on research.