U.S. Pork Industry on High Alert with African Swine Fever Overseas

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U.S. Pork Industry on High Alert with African Swine Fever outbreak overseas. ( Farm Journal )

China is experiencing a big drop to its domestic hog herd. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs saying China’s sow herd has fallen in August by 4.8 percent from a year earlier. The sow herd declined just over one percent from the month prior.

One major reason for the herd decline in China is due to foreign animal disease outbreaks. China discovering more than a dozen outbreaks of African Swine Fever in its herd since August. It’s putting the U.S. hog industry on high alert with industry leaders saying any disease outbreak in the United States would cripple the U.S. export market.

The overseas outbreak adds urgency to requests U.S. livestock groups have to beef up government action plans against foreign animal diseases, not just for African Swine Fever. The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) is asking for funding in the next farm bill for research and block grants for state agencies to prepare for potential disease emergencies. NPPC is asking for a Foot and Mouth Disease vaccine bank. That hasn’t changed despite the African Swine Fever Outbreak.

AgDay national reporter Betsy Jibben talks with Jim Heimerl, president of NPPC; Gordon Spronk, a board member and veterinarian with NPPC; Liz Wagstrom, chief veterinarian with NPPC and Dermot Hayes, an economist with Iowa State University.