African Swine Fever Pushing China to Professionalize Hog Production

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It’s no secret that China’s hog industry has learned the benefits of modernizing their hog production methods. Just a few years ago, Farm Journal’s Pork reported on the multi-level hog buildings being built in China as they moved backyard hog operations to larger farm business models.

But the recent widespread outbreak of African swine fever in that country has brought a whole new resolve to improve biosecurity, said Erin Borror of the U.S. Meat Export Federation during AgriTalk with Chip Flory on Tuesday.

Since 2016, China’s had a national effort to modernize their industry, she explains. This was partly driven by stricter environmental regulations and moving farms away from urban areas. “That’s why we saw China’s spike in pork imports in 2016, which was not disease-driven,” she said. “That was actually industry-transformation driven and following producer losses the previous year.”

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Greater Emphasis on Biosecurity

“But what's very interesting is that the [ASF] tragic situation could really help China take up another gear on jumping to a more commercialized industry,” Borror said. “Which is the track they've already been on, but accelerating it out of the need for survival essentially. It's a huge challenge to tackle and certainly does require professionalizing in big way.”

At the recent U.S.-China Swine Industry Symposium, Borrer heard U.S. producer Randy Spronk talk about his experience operating through the PED crisis, which connected with many Chinese producers.

Disease challenges like that are scary for all swine producers, Borrer said. “[PED] totally changed the game on biosecurity on our U.S. operations.”

Click the link to listen to an audio interview with Randy Spronk at the U.S. China Swine Industry Symposium.


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