In this file:


·         ASF threat – what more can be done?

·         Protecting U.S. Pork at Forefront of MN Pork Board Annual Meeting

·         Pork Industry Hopes for the Best, Plans for the Worst

·         Hog Industry Prepares Plans for Animal Health Emergencies



ASF threat – what more can be done?


Pig World (UK)

February 8, 2019


The underlying message from the Defra report on the UK’s ASF risk status is that a collective effort is needed to keep the virus out – from producers and the allied industry to Government and its agencies, the public, hauliers, the media and more.


NPA chief executive Zoe Davies, who spoke of her own horrific experience of dealing with the 2000 Classical swine fever outbreak during a BBC Countryfile feature on the threat posed by ASF in January, has highlighted areas where more could be done.




The NPA is urging all producers to put up signs available from AHDB (pictured) to warn the public not to feed pigs (email to request the signs).


Dr Davies said: “One of the biggest concerns is that outdoor pig units near roads, especially lay-bys, and public footpaths and indoor or outdoor units close to a public right of way could be exposed if members of the public fed pigs contaminated meat, for example through discarded sandwiches. This was the most likely cause of the 2000 Classical swine fever outbreak.”




“While there is widespread compliance with the swill feeding ban among commercial producers, more needs to be done to ensure smallholders and pet pig owners understand the risk of feeding kitchen scraps to their pigs and that this is illegal,” Dr Davies added.




There are strict protocols in place for visitors to farms, including a ‘rest period’ of at least three days for people who have returned from abroad. “But there is a risk some Eastern European workers could bring contaminated products back from visits home,” she added.


“We need to ensure all staff understand that pork products must not be brought onto the farm, including by visitors and delivery drivers.”.




The NPA is calling for a more coordinated and effective approach to management of feral pig populations, before it is too late.


“Defra needs to revise the outdated 2008 Feral Wild Boar Action Plan and help shape a UK feral wild boar strategy,” Dr Davies said.


AHDB is running a social media campaign urging the public to #KeepWildBoarWild, stressing that feeding wild boar ‘can be dangerous for their health and spread diseases that affect all pigs’.




No progress has been made on border controls, Dr Davies said.


“We will continue to press Defra to insist that UK Border Force takes this issue far more seriously than it has to date and increases the level of resource dedicated to intercepting illegal imports of potentially contaminated pork,” she added.


“We would also like to see much better visible communication to passengers and lorry drivers entering the UK via ports, airports and on Eurostar about the disease risk of illegally importing pork products from affected areas and discarding them in areas where pigs can gain access.”


For more information, see the dedicated ASF section on the NPA’s website, including a comprehensive new briefing.


The global picture


Belgium/France ...   


Eastern Europe ...


Denmark ...


China ...


Australia ...





Protecting U.S. Pork at Forefront of MN Pork Board Annual Meeting


by Alison Durheim, KEYC Mankato (NM)

Feb 8, 2019


Protecting United States pork was a hot topic at the Minnesota Pork Board's Annual Meeting at the capitol.


Producers discussed the spread of African Swine Fever in countries overseas and while there's never been a confirmed case in North America, producers aim to keep it that way.


"Most of the discussion centered on prevention rather than reacting to the disease if it actually got here," says David Preisler, CEO of Minnesota Pork Producers Association.


Currently making its rounds in China and recently smuggled to the Australian border, African Swine Fever sparked discussions around the key words prevention and biosecurity. Two topics that go hand in hand.


"Farms are already tightening down biosecurity and have been for quite awhile. Now it's just taking it to that next step and working with USDA and Custom Borders Patrol to just really make sure to tighten the whole inspection piece up," says Preisler.


Precautions are being taken on the border and on the farm to prevent further threat to markets that are already reeling from to tariffs on Mexico as around 50 percent of United States ham is exported across our southern border.


"As we look at Mexico for example, there is a 20% tariff on moving U.S. pork into Mexico because of the trade war that we're in right now, and that gets expensive, because you end up having to discount the product in order to cover the tariff to get it into the country and that all trickles down to farmers," explains Preisler.


Producers will continue to stress food safety...


more, including video report [1:51 min.]



Pork Industry Hopes for the Best, Plans for the Worst


By Jennifer Shike, Farm Journal's Pork, Editor

via AgWeb - February 8, 2019


The science, research and innovation that goes into producing a pound of pork today is incredible. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to pursue this role as editor of Farm Journal’s PORK. I’m not sure there’s a greater group of minds in all of agriculture than the movers and shakers of the U.S. swine industry. And quite simply, there’s no better job than this one to find out what makes these leaders tick and to glean from their knowledge.


Every day I get to talk with amazing people who tirelessly pursue excellence — for the good not only of their company, but also for global pork production. I just got off the phone with Paul Sundberg, executive director of the Swine Health Information Center (SHIC). We visited about SHIC’s work plan for 2019. If you haven’t looked at the research projects they have planned, go check it out.


A Reason to Celebrate


As he thinks about the year ahead, he’s full of reasons to be optimistic and reasons to be cautious. Sundberg says he hopes for the best and plans for the worst. He’s looking forward to new opportunities to analyze big data sets to help advance the needle on swine health.


“I’m excited about being able to provide information back to producers as quickly as possible that can help them on their farms,” Sundberg says.


For the past couple of years, Sundberg and others have worked to standardize the way major veterinary diagnostic laboratories catalog and report testing results. SHIC can now take information from diagnostic labs and look for regional trends and merging diseases in nearly real-time, he says.


“If a disease is showing up in Georgia and they send it to Lab A to be analyzed while the same disease shows up in Pennsylvania and gets reported to Lab B, we can now look at what’s going on throughout the country to determine if there are trends taking place or issues arising,” Sundberg says.


Think Globally, Act Locally ...





Hog Industry Prepares Plans for Animal Health Emergencies


WHO-TV Des Moines

February 8, 2019


IOWA -- Farmers are constantly preparing for animal diseases, an infected herd can mean losing an entire business or permanently losing markets abroad. And with new and old threats facing Iowa's hog industry, scientists and hog producers are working to make sure business is safe.


The 2018 farm bill approved mandatory funding for an animal disease vaccine bank focusing on Foot and Mouth disease (FMD). It also has mandatory funds for the national animal health laboratory network, which are state diagnostic labs, as well as money for state grants for prevention and preparedness. Totaling a $150 million.


Liz Wagstrom the chief veterinarian with the National Pork Producers Council says the vaccine bank is important, "We'd like to have enough that we could control a significant outbreak quickly knowing that you have the vaccine on hand and then you need surge capacity to make more as an outbreak would continue."


The vaccine bank right now could only handle a small outbreak of FMD, and it's shared between Canada and Mexico.


Hog producers don't preemptively vaccinate their hogs because of trade restrictions. For one, hogs can be classified as "FMD free", which the U.S. is right now, or "free with vaccinations", which some countries may deny trade access to. Only a third of the world is FMD free, about 68 countries.


Wagstrom says another problem, is there are a lot of different types of disease, "There are over 20 strains of Foot and Mouth disease. They don't cross react, or cross protect. So if you vaccinate for one, you're not protected against another. So we really need to wait until we have an outbreak, which of course we hope we never do, to see which strain we need to start vaccinating against."


FMD is an older threat, livestock producers have been maintaining biosecurity against it for years. A new threat for hog producers is African Swine Fever (ASF).


At the Iowa Pork Congress, producers gathered for a seminar to protect against the disease, which has caused more than 950,000 pigs to be culled across China...


more, plus video report [4:14 min.]