PQA Plus Beta Test

Larry K. McMullen, Swine Field Specialist, Southeast Area

Problem Statement:

In June 2006 the National Pork Board introduced at the World Pork Expo the Pork Quality AssurancePlus (PQA Plus) program that would replace the PQA Level III and the Swine Welfare Assurance Program (SWAP) programs in the future.  PQA Plus would combine the PQA Level III and the SWAP together.  Having already completed 40 SWAP assessments for swine producers, Dr. Jim McKean, DVM, ISU Swine Veterinarian, recommended me to the National Pork Board to be a beta test advisor for the new PQA Plus program

Programmatic Response:

The PQA beta test was conducted at several locations across the United States to get a representative cross-section of swine producers.  Three beta test phases were to be completed. Phase one (1) was testing the swine welfare component.  I chose three types of producers to work with in this phase.  A 400 sow farrow to finish operation, a small independent finishing pig producer utilizing a nursery and hoop buildings for finishing, and a 125 sow niche market producer that pasture farrows and uses a Swedish farrowing system with outdoor finishing lots.  Phase two was to conduct producer educational training programs in pork quality assurance.  Group training sessions were held in Jones and Cedar County utilizing the new materials.  Also one on one training with two producers in Cedar and Jones County was conducted with the new PQA Plus material.  Phase three was the self-assessment by producers to conduct their own site welfare assessment.  A Jones and a Clinton County producer was selected for the self-assessment training.  A pre and post meeting was held with each producer to train them to accomplish an on-farm self-assessment.  After each phase of the beta test, either a face to face or a tel-conference de-briefing session was conducted by the National Pork Board with all beta test advisors.   A final beta test advisor training session was held by the National Pork Board to assess the training methods for the potential advisors to the PQA Plus program.

Impact / Outcome: 

Through the experiences gained in the beta testing of the PQA Plus program and relying upon the past experiences with the SWAP program, I was able to make some direct contributions to the development of the PQA Plus program.  Using an assessment form developed by Terry Steinhart, ISU Swine Field Specialist, for the previously made SWAP assessments, I modified and updated the form for an assessment tool to be used in both the breeding and finishing areas of the PQA Plus assessments. .  The assessment forms are now a part of the materials used in the PQA Plus program.  Input on how to simplify the selection and calculation of the number of pigs to assess was incorporated into the new program. Numerous other suggestions were made to improve and change the program.  An article in the March National Pork Board magazine had my comments and thoughts on the PQA Plus program.  After the extensive beta testing, the PQA Plus program will be officially launched on June 8, 2007 at the World Pork Expo.  I have been invited to make some comments on the new program at a News Conference that will unveil the PQA Plus program on June 8th. 

May 8, 2007
150 Iowa Pork Industry Center

Page last updated: May 15, 2007
Page maintained by Linda Schultz, lschultz@iastate.edu