What if African Swine Fever Enters the U.S.?


by Jennifer Shike, AgWeb  

Feb 05, 2020


African swine fever (ASF) doesn’t just affect the pork industry, reminded Jennifer Tirey, executive director of the Illinois Pork Producers Association during its annual meeting on Tuesday. If ASF enters the U.S., everyone will be impacted.


“It’s critical to get all of agriculture involved,” she said.


ASF is not in the U.S. at this time and current efforts are focused on prevention and keeping this deadly virus that impacts pigs only out of the country. But the question posed before Illinois pork producers is one on everyone’s minds.


What if ASF enters our country?


In an effort to be better prepared if ASF strikes the U.S., Illinois Pork is joining forces with the Illinois Beef Association, Illinois Corn Growers Association and the Illinois Farm Bureau to request $500,000 in the 2020 Illinois Department of Agriculture budget to fund four field veterinarians (only one for the entire state of Illinois now), one additional office staff to update premise ID information and education and outreach efforts.


“We are hopeful this will move forward and believe it’s a positive first step for Illinois,” Tirey said. “We need each other in agriculture – our future depends on it. If ASF enters our country, we will need more people in place.”


Tirey reminded producers during the state meeting on Tuesday of six major things that will happen if ASF enters the country.


1.    National stop movement ordered.

2.    Export markets closed.

3.    Pigs in quarantine areas euthanized.

4.    Widespread monitoring, testing and depopulation occurs.

5.    Consumer confidence in pork falters.

6.    Prices collapse to market-clearing levels.


“We need to be prepared now and proactive in how we would handle ASF,” she said...


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