The Agriculture, Community and Natural Resources Division (ACNR) of the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) conducted a swine disease survey in the territory in early August. The project involved training ASCC agriculture students and local pig farmers in methods of conducting a swine health assessment, and the subsequent survey was part of ASCC-ACNR’s continued effort to assist local pig farmers with health management challenges.
“This project helps us to understand the health concerns and other challenges farmers face, and to increase the experience of students in some of the practices to care for and understand the health of the pigs,” said visiting specialist Dr. Halina Zaleski from the University of Hawaii at Manoa - College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. Dr. Zaleski last visited American Samoa in April 2016 to assist with the collaborative Artificial Insemination Project between ASCC-ACNR and the local Department of Agriculture.
The last swine disease survey conducted in American Samoa took place 20 years ago. In order to make recommendations in swine management, awareness and documentation of what swine diseases exist in American Samoa is necessary. Knowing what diseases are currently not in American Samoa will also help with preventative measures to keep them from ever arriving.
The swine disease survey team consisted of ACNR Extension Animal Specialist and Instructor Seiuli Dr. Michael Hansell, ACNR Extension Agent Fili Uta, ACNR Horticulture Technician Pasia Setu, and ASCC students Faatoia Areta, Imeleta Luamanu, Iosefo Sio, Malia Talia, Anastasia Magalo, Michelle Paletaleo, Puaolele Taisau, June Talamoni, Logomalu Papalii, and Naseri Meki. Accompanying the ACNR staff and students were Dr. Zaleski and Extension Swine Specialist Consultant Dr. Thomas Petznick from Nebraska. The survey team collected samples from both the ACNR compound and local pig farms. They then conducted some of their lab testings at ACNR, while other samples were sent to a commercial lab on the mainland for testing.
In addition to the swine disease survey, a swine management workshop was held at ACNR, at which Dr. Zaleski and Dr. Petznick shared helpful health management tips and discussed their observations from local pig farms. ACNR students gave presentations on practices and techniques learned from their field experience and lab work during the survey. Local farmers and DOA staff attended the workshop, which was moderated by Dr. Hansell. “The testing is ongoing,” said Dr. Petznick at the workshop, “so after we get our complete summary done, we’ll come back and recommend a program that you can use on your pigs to address pressing concerns such as worms that are in their digestive systems and parasites that cause itching.”
After the workshop, students were awarded certificates of completion for their work on the survey. ASCC President Dr. Rosevonne Makaiwi Pato thanked Dr. Halina Zaleski and Dr. Thomas Petznick for conducting the swine disease survey and swine management workshop for the farmers of American Samoa. ACNR Horticulturist Dr. Ian Gurr secured funding for this project through a grant from the Western Sustainable Agriculture, Research & Education (WSARE) Program. ASCC-ACNR Director, Aufa’i Apulu Ropeti Areta thanked all the farmers who participated in the survey, all workshop participants and all those who supported the survey program.