PEDV – Here’s Your Sign!

This sign greets visitors to our farm.  We want to PROTECT our hogs from germs so we ask visitors to not go near our barns.

This sign greets visitors to our farm. We want to PROTECT our hogs from germs so we ask visitors to not go near our barns.

I am pretty aggravated tonight so forgive me now if I am a little blunt in this post.  I’ve had a long day, and I know many other moms are feeling tired just like I am tonight.  When I came in the house tonight it was after 6:30 and I had supper to cook, laundry and dishes to do, and Conner had a headache and homework that needed completed.   Homework with Conner means ‘mean ole mom’ has to stand watch over him and remind him every five minutes to do his homework.  As a farm kid, the last place he wants to be on a nice night is inside the house doing homework.

The last thing I wanted to do tonight was chase down a strange vehicle that was trespassing on my farm.   I wasn’t chasing down this truck just because they were trespassing, I was trying to stop them from going near our hog barns.

There is a terrible disease running through the hog industry and it’s called PEDV.  PEDV is a four letter word in our home, as it is in many other homes of hog farmers across the United States and Canada.  PEDV stands for Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (porcine means swine and is just another name for hogs).

PEDV is deadly to newborn pigs from birth until about three weeks of age, and infected swine herds can suffer a 75-100% loss of baby pigs for a four to five week period. PEDV poses no threat to humans, or has no food safety impact on retail pork supplies.  The causes and spread of PEDV are still largely unknown, and there are currently no known vaccines to prevent the initial occurrence of PEDV virus.

On our farm, we have increased our bio-security and we are praying every day that our farm doesn’t get this virus.  I think twice before I go anywhere now, I don’t go inside the bank because I don’t know who might have been in there prior to me that may have hogs.  I don’t go into a grocery store or convenience store unless absolutely necessary through the week because I don’t know who has been in the store previously that might have been around hogs.  If I go to the grocery store, I try to make sure I can stay away from our barns and feed mill or any supplies that need to go inside our barns.  Our family and our dedicated employees have become even more meticulous in trying to protect the sows and pigs on our farm.  I freak out when I see a strange vehicle pull into our driveway because I have no idea where they have been.  I instantly think, “Have they been around hogs?  I hope they read our sign and stop!”

Well tonight, a traveling salesman saw our sign and he didn’t stop.  I doubt he intentionally ignored it, he probably just didn’t realize how important the sign is.  I saw it happening like a bad car wreck, I tried to stop him but I had just taken my shoes off and come inside the house to start cooking supper.  Conner came running through the house and said, “Mom, someone is ignoring our sign, quick, we have to stop them.”  But we were too late.  All of our hard work was put at risk in the blink of an eye, and by someone who paid no attention to our signs.

Does this mean we will get PEDV?  I sure hope not but there is no way of knowing exactly where this truck had been or if they had been on another farm that had hogs.  I only hope that people may read this blog and think twice the next time they see a sign that says, ““STOP Authorized Personnel Only Beyond This Point.”  Livestock farms don’t display signs like this because it’s dangerous for you to go beyond a certain area.  They display these signs to protect their livestock, in our case our hogs, from diseases and germs you may be tracking in on you unknowingly.  We don’t display our sign because we are rude or mean, we want to PREVENT our animals from getting exposed to germs, we want to keep them healthy.

So the next time you see a sign that says, “STOP Authorized Personnel Only Beyond This Point” or “Biosecure Area – Do Not Enter,” please be considerate and stop.  The health of our hogs is at risk if you ignore the signs.  And this doesn’t just impact my family, it impacts all the families my farm supports – this includes the families of our employee’s, the family of the propane delivery driver who delivers our propane, the family of the packing plant employee who packages the pork I raise, even the family of the grocery store owner and the clerk who rings up your groceries.   This list could go on and on but I think you get the idea.

One of my kids’ favorite meals is pork burgers on the grill and it’s something they look forward to every summer – I want my kids to enjoy pork burgers this summer raised on our farm!   For this to happen though, I may have to remain the CRAZY lady who chases people around my farm if they cross the bio-security sign.  I’m willing to be this crazy lady if it means my kids have their pork burgers this summer!  Life would be easier though if people would just read the SIGNS!  As the old saying goes, “Here’s Your Sign!”

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About Chris Chinn

My husband, Kevin, and I are 5th generation farmers. We live on our family hog farm in Missouri with our two children. Our dream is that our children will have the opportunity be the 6th generation of farmers in our family.
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11 Responses to PEDV – Here’s Your Sign!

  1. Shari Thomas says:

    I feel your pain. We really work hard to keep our gates closed. We raise goats and sheep, and they are quite vulnerable, too. We love visitors, but only at certain times of the year,,, after all the babies are born, and they are healthy enough to fight off any bugs our visitors bring to us.

    • Chris Chinn says:

      I completely understand what your talking about! I think all livestock producers have to stress the importance of PREVENTING diseases from entering our farms to the non-farming community. Best wishes!

  2. What was he selling? I’m guessing he didn’t make a sale.

  3. J. Rhoades says:

    As a fellow hog farmer’s wife, I totally understand! We actually have PEDV, we believe it came in on the last truck of piglets we get in. I realize it is not as bad for us at all because we only have nursery pigs (they are generally old enough to not all die from it) and we are contracted so that takes away much of the stress. I can’t imagine the stress you are under with the sows and being self owned :( I hope you all are able to stay PEDV free, and that the industry is able to get this under control soon! Hang in there!

    • Chris Chinn says:

      Thanks! I sympathize with you, I know PEDV requires a lot more work for you on your farm. I hope your able to be free of it soon and that it doesn’t linger around for months. I also hope we can find a vaccine for this soon, it’s vital for all hog farms.

  4. Denise says:

    We are dairy farmers, and we worry about various diseases too! Hope you are able to stay clear of PEDV. And honestly, salesman are the worst people to have to worry about bringing diseases!

    • Chris Chinn says:

      I agree Denise. I prefer they just call or email me. I have a few that do call me and ask when it would work to meet, I really appreciate their respect and consideration. And these are the salesman who normally get my business.

  5. Jacki says:

    I to understand where you are coming from. I raise rare breed poultry and believe me NO ONE goes near my flock except my family and my NPIP tester. People just do not understand the time, effort, and money we put into our animals. I do not think your crazy, you are just doing what you need to do to protect your farm. I get a little crazy if someone gets near my coops..

  6. Pingback: Why Are Americans Failing Science? | Food, Farm, Life Choices

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