Guest Commentary: Swine Fever & USMCA


By Hoosier Ag Today

Apr 7, 2019


Former Secretary of Agriculture John Block


What should we focus on today? Lets start with African Swine Fever. ASF is the deadliest disease threatening the pork industry. It is estimated that China has lost as much as 30% of their swine. We dont have any vaccine to protect our pigs. Fortunately, the virus does not infect humans. With the liquidation of so many animals in China, pork prices have skyrocketed. Our pork exports to China are off the chart. ASF is spreading to other countries including eastern Europe. We need to do everything we can to keep it out of the U.S. If we get African Swine Fever, other countries will shut down all our pork exports.


Now that we are talking about trade let me suggest that of all the legislation that needs to be passed, perhaps the most important is USMCA.


USMCA is the new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada an improved and updated NAFTA. It should be easy to get it passed but it wont be. Some Democrats want changes in the deal. Its also a fact that they dont want Trump to win anything. President Trump isnt helping the effort since he wants to keep steel and aluminum tariffs on Mexico and Canada. Senator Grassley said, weve got to get rid of the tariffs or nothing is going to happen. He is right.


Last subject GMOs and Gene Editing. Science is making it possible to do things that former generations never imagined. Most of the corn, soybeans and some other crops that we grow are not what they used to be. With genetic engineering, they resist root worms and other critters that can damage the plants. The plants are not affected by our weed killers either. We get a big bump in yield with less labor and energy.


We have a gene editing technique called CRISPR...