Farm Business Operations - Pork Checkoff

Farm Business Operations

The Pork Checkoff has developed a number of tools to help pig farmers operate efficient production systems. From employee safety to human resources, we’ve created tools to support producers in a variety of ways:

  • Training and certification programs
  • Employee safety plan toolkits
  • Emergency action plan toolkits


Training and Certification Programs

Farm safety is no accident and our comprehensive training programs help ensure a safe workplace where employees are treated fairly and with respect. All caretakers should receive the training needed for their particular duties to ensure a safe, high-quality pork supply.

Barn Culture Toolkit

The Barn Culture toolkit supports producers in creating a positive barn culture while inspiring professionalism. The toolkit includes business information and templates to help producers effectively recruit, develop, train and retain employees.

  • General HR templates, presentations, and guides
  • Onboarding and orientation templates, forms, and mandatory paperwork
  • Recruiting guides and job descriptions
  • Retention guides to develop employees
  • Fact sheets on how to approach various HR challenges

5 Ways to Keep People and Pigs Healthy

With all of the health challenges today, such as influenza and COVID-19, it is more important than ever to focus on protecting farm personnel and the animals in their care. Keeping people and pigs healthy is a key focus of the pork industry’s We Care ethical principles. Here are five recommendations to achieve that goal.

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1. Limit Farm Visitors and Access to Swine Barns

  • Don‘t allow unauthorized visitors. (No visitors advised during the COVID-19 pandemic.)
  • Limit entry to caretakers and essential service personnel.
  • Don’t allow anyone exhibiting signs of respiratory illness to enter. If you allow visitors, ask if they have had any recent contact with others who have signs of illness.
  • Follow your farm’s shower-in/shower-out policy.
  • Wear farm-specific clothing and footwear.

2. Wash Your Hands Often

  • Wash your hands and arms frequently with soap and water to avoid spreading germs.
  • Wash hands before and after handling pigs, eating, using the restroom, and smoking, as well as before touching your face, mouth, eyes or nose.
  • To help kill germs, wash with warm water, if possible, apply soap, lather for 20 seconds, scrub all surfaces and rinse under running water.
  • Use an alcohol-based (60% or more) hand sanitizer if soap and clean water are not available.

3. Stay Home if You Are Sick

  • Follow your farm’s sick-leave policy if you develop signs and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as fever, cough, body aches, fatigue, shortness of breath, vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Even without a formal diagnosis, do not enter swine facilities for at least seven days after developing signs of respiratory illness, even mild signs.
  • Seek medical care if needed.
  • If diagnosed with influenza, don’t enter swine facilities until fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication.
  • For COVID-19, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has both a test and a non-test strategy for lifting isolation and returning to work. Visit

4. Follow Biosecurity Practices to Protect Pig Health

  • Keep food and drink out of animal areas. (A no-pork policy is recommended.)
  • Properly adjust and maintain ventilation to minimize re- circulation of air inside animal housing facilities to reduce the exposure of pigs to viruses from other pigs and to reduce their
    exposure to human influenza viruses.
  • Prevent the introduction of birds into swine facilities. Avoid contact with birds and bird droppings in general, and avoid use of non-chlorinated surface water.
  • Use personal protective equipment in barns.
  • Follow recommendations for yearly vaccinations against the seasonal influenza virus.
  • Review herd health programs with a veterinarian to ensure they are up-to-date and effective for conditions on the farm.

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

  • Health issues can take a toll on mental well-being, but there are many available resources that you can contact, including AgriSafe Network, Rural Mental Health Hub, the Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center at the University of Minnesota, Colorado State University Extension and Iowa State University Extension.