- Associated Press - Sunday, April 13, 2014

SPENCERVILLE, Ind. (AP) - Hog farmer Bruce Laub figures the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus isn’t much different than a bug that affects humans periodically.

Still, bio-security measures and good, old-fashioned common sense can protect against swine viruses. Standards vary from farm to farm locally.

Laub’s farm is home to about 9,500 pigs.

“We’re full,” he told The (Auburn) Star (http://bit.ly/1jCrpBG). “We really limit visits, because that’s a bio-security measure we can take. If somebody would like to go through and see the pigs, no problem, but let’s do it in the summertime when there’s more air movement and a lot less risk of bringing something in.”

Like any farm, there is a flow of traffic on and off. Regulating how and when that traffic arrives and departs can keep livestock healthy.

“When it’s practical, we’ll have deliveries made at my dad’s house a half-mile away,” Laub explained. “If it’s a big delivery, obviously, we have to have the truck come here. Sometimes, we’ll schedule that for first thing on Monday, so they haven’t been exposed to any other farms over the weekend.

“Anything we can do to prevent foot traffic or truck traffic between farms that makes sense, we’ll do,” he added. “We can’t always avoid those situations.

“Probably our biggest risk would be when we sell hogs and we have trucks come in that have been hauling hogs. That’s a big risk for everybody in the industry,” Laub said. “They’ve been to other packing plants, they’ve been to other farms, and they come here.

“There are truck washes out and around, and they can get washed out and get new bedding put in their trucks. For this farm, every one gets washed out before they come here,” he said. Laub has followed that practice for at least three years.

Whiteshire Hamroc farm in Albion takes a three-tiered approach to making sure viruses are not brought onto the premises, said Mike Lemmon, a veterinarian. Anyone who wants to see an area where hogs are kept is required to shower on premises and wear clothes provided by the farm.

The second bio-safety policy utilized is not to allow pigs from other farms on its property.

Finally, livestock trucks that transport animals now undergo a three-stage process to make sure they do not carry illnesses onto Whiteshire Hamroc properties.

After the livestock trucks drop off the animals, the trucks are washed and disinfected. With the new virus sweeping the industry, Whiteshire takes the trucks into a building and heats them up to between 110-120 degrees for an extended period of time. Lemmon said the extra hea dries any the viruses and makes a second disinfecting more effective.

Lemmon said the increased truck washing has raised costs from approximately $150 to between $500-$600.

“We did that at one time at this farm,” Laub said of shower-in, shower-out practices. “The employees or a veterinarian would have to go through a shower and change into coveralls on the other side. We did that for many years.

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