African Swine Fever remains a concern in farm country as outbreaks continue overseas. With the news of one of the largest pig shows in the world cancelled, agricultural communities are on edge.
Washington County, Iowa is a large pork producing state. Any disruption like the risk of African Swine Fever on U.S. soil would be a crisis for producers and their communities.
“It would be catastrophic for Washington County,” said Heather Hora, a pig producer from Washington County, Iowa. “Twenty-five percent of our employment comes from the pork production system.”
According to the Iowa Pork Producers Association, the pork industry creates more than 1,800 jobs in the county back in 2017. That doesn’t even include sales and labor. For the state of Iowa, it’s over 141,000 jobs with the sales of more than $36 billion in 2017 alone.
The National Pork Producers Council deciding to cancel its World Pork Expo over an abundance of caution. Veterinarians say there is no vaccine and developing one will take a decade, possibly two decades.
“I’m aware the Europeans have approached our government and there’s some joint research going on,” said Neil Dierks, the CEO of the National Pork Producers Council. “[To my understanding] there have been agreements with our government and private companies to share some research but our science community is still searching.”
NPPC asks lawmakers to add 600 more agricultural inspectors to sea ports and borders for extra help.
AgDay national reporter Betsy Jibben has the story from Washington County, Iowa.