U.S. Agriculture Preparing for African Swine Fever Outbreak

November 20, 2018 09:48 AM
 
 

The outbreak of African Swine Fever continues to spread through China. The country reporting two new cases over the weekend and officials say they are cracking down on any farm trying to cover-up an outbreak. One of the new cases was found in wild hogs the other a small herd of 40. That herd, however, is in one of the top pork-producing regions of the country.

The Sichuan region produced almost 66 million pigs last year which is more than any other province. According to officials, ASF has now been found in every major pig-producing regions of China.

In the U.S., work is underway to keep ASF out of the states. USDA sharing this with AgDay:

Confirmation of African swine fever cases in China and the European Union over the past several months prompted USDA to review and strengthen its protections. This involves partnering with the swine industry, producers, CBP, and the travelling public to help ensure we protect American agriculture.  To prevent ASF from entering the country, USDA has in place a series of interlocking safeguards. They include:

-Collaborating with states, industry and producers to ensure everyone follows on-farm biosecurity and best practices (including for garbage feeding in states where that is allowed);

-Restricting imports pork and pork products from affected countries; and

-Working with CBP staff at ports of entry to train their inspection dogs, as well as to increasing screening vigilance to pay particular attention to passengers and products arriving from affected countries.

USDA is committed to working closely with the swine industry and producers to ensure strict biosecurity procedures are in place and being followed on all swine farms.

AgDay-TV host Clinton Griffiths spoke with Michael Nepveux, an economist with American Farm Bureau Federation, about the potential impacts of African Swine Fever on the global pork industry. 

Clinton: As we watch African Swine Fever develop in China how bad is it really? Do we know?

Michael: "So far African swine fever has popped up in China with over 60 outbreaks in 18 different provinces. Today, there has been over 200,000 pigs culled. With China, these numbers are widely suspected to be under-reported but at this stage, it's still too early to really say how bad it's going to be."

Clinton: What is China doing to stop it?

Michael: "One of the restrictions that China put in place is they banned the transport of hogs through provinces that are infected with African Swine Fever. Where the pork is produced in the country and where the majority of the pork is consumed you're starting to see a really big price spread between those areas. China is the world's largest producer and consumer of pork. So, if this turns out to be something as big as 15% of China's herd it's a good idea to remember that that's the size of the entire U.S. herd just for a magnitude comparison."

Clinton: At this point what should producers here at home be doing?

Michael: "Well at this point it also wouldn't be a bad idea for producers to have a conversation with their veterinarian about reviewing their on-farm biosecurity plan. Another way to prepare for this is the pork board website has a foreign animal disease checklist about what producers can be going through and making sure that their farm is prepared for anything to happen. Additionally, at this point, USDA is having wargaming exercises to essentially practice how they would respond to any kind of outbreak occurring in the U.S. as well. So, the industry and the government and producers are all remaining vigilant on how to prevent the spread to the United States."

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