For the last couple of months I lived in fear. The threat of PEDv loomed around every corner and every expert I consulted repeatedly said “it’s only a matter of time.” At the farm we used caution at every turn and followed the advice of our vet every chance we had. We disinfected the propane truck, the feed truck, our equipment and ourselves on a daily basis. We set up off-site drop points for FedEx, UPS and other delivery vehicles. We avoided our local truckstop, convenience stores and restaurants. We delayed selling culls at Heinold and the Salebarn for weeks. We didn’t allow visitors and tried to monitor everyone and everything that drove up our lane and reached the top of our hill in Taylor. In the end, it wasn’t enough and the experts were right. It was only a matter of time.

Our farm has been affected by Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDv). We are working very diligently with our veterinarian, Dr. Steve Patterson, to deal with the situation head on and curtail the affects. It has been trying and certainly very difficult but we are determined to overcome this setback and be stronger as a result. If you want to know more about PEDv, click here.

The Midwest has been overwhelmed with PEDv among both commercial and showpig operations. A recent report stated that there were 215 new cases in the last week alone so its very clear the virus is still potent. As winter continues, there’s no doubt the virus will continue to spread. Many have asked how we were affected and honestly, I don’t know. Finger pointing doesn’t solve problems and with this virus, there are still a lot more questions than answers. It is worth noting that the Commercial industry is business as usual regardless of who has or hasn’t had the virus. Commercial pigs that are PEDv positive continue to be transported up and down the highway ultimately keeping everyone at risk. I’m not advocating for the same recklessness in the Showpig industry but we usually get blamed for being reckless when it comes to biosecurity.  

It is very important for everyone to educate themselves about this virus. Those of you who have sows, and more importantly litters in the crate or litters due in the short term, should be very concerned about the virus and the potential risk for your operation. Take every precaution possible to avoid the virus if you wish to stay PEDv-free. However, if you are buying showpigs for the upcoming show season there is NO need to panic. In my opinion, the affects we’ve seen on a 70# showpig would not rival a tough flu bug and the same can be said for heavier weight pigs.

Regardless of scope or size of a swine operation, based on our experience so far, it would never be a good time to have PEDv. However, I am very thankful that the bulk of our November-December-January litters were farrowed and weaned in good fashion and are surviving the situation quite well. I felt it necessary to inform potential buyers, fellow breeders and other showpig enthusiasts of our situation and at the very least start open dialogue about PEDv. I believe we as an industry will have to work together to find solutions because ultimately this will affect many of you reading this.  

As many of you realize, we do have an Online Sale scheduled for February 4th and will continue as planned. The sale pigs are healthy and have been minimally affected by the virus. They will stay here after the sale until our Vet is comfortable with our status and buyers are comfortable with receiving them. Rest assured we will use every precaution necessary to ensure we don’t put anyone at risk.

We realize this news could affect your decision to buy from HH this Spring. If you’re concerned, please call and we’ll be happy to discuss our situation. Our vet will also be available to assist where needed. At this time we still have not allowed visitors on the farm, but will re-evaluate our position moving forward. Please watch our website for information as we release updates and do our best to keep you informed of our status. We sympathize with our fellow breeders who are experiencing the same situation and would not wish this for anyone. Thanks to those who’ve offered words of encouragement. This is a great time to be part of a great industry and we’re committed to the future.

9 thoughts on “PED is for Real

  1. Jesse,

    I am sorry to hear of the PEDv outbreak in your herd. Your brutal honesty is most admired and you are meeting this challenge head on with great courage. You are a bright spot in the young breeders out there today. I am glad to hear of the news on your nov, dec and early jan litters. I especially hope this is cleared up soon! Prayers for you, our fellow swine breeders and ourselves. Good luck on your sale!

  2. Jessie,We will keep you guys in our prayers.The showpig industry is lucky to have breeders like you.I have watched many of your pigs pass thru Jerry and Vonda Williams barn.I know you will rebound from this.We are on pins and needles waiting on this thing to hit here in southwest Okla.I appreciate your honesty and would openly accept any further input from you.Thanks again and good luck,Eddie Benton,Benton Farms Showpigs

  3. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. We have not been infected yet, while we remain mostly isolated to other hog farms we are certainly aware that at anytime the disease may approach our farm. Thanks for being so open and honest with everyone.

  4. So sorry to hear that. I am in Fl and know it’s a matter of time here as well. I know they are doing research but I don’t know how far that will take us since it has been in Europe for a while now. I am really glad that someone stepped up and said they have the problem. Thanks for that.


  5. Your three gilts here are PED free. Let me know what you want me to do I am sure sorry that you are facing such a problem but that is the story of life. These challenges are what separate the men from the boys. Let me know if I can help or if you just need to talk

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