African Swine Fever concerns continue

Livestock economist Steve Meyer, speaking at the Iowa Pork Producers Association annual meeting in Des Moines

The threat of African Swine Fever is a major concern for U.S. pork producers.

Curtis Meier runs a 160 sow farrow-to-finish operation in southwest Iowa near Clarinda. He says they’ve always emphasized biosecurity on their farm, but he says there are some things they just can’t control.

“You know, it’s really scary the amount of feed ingredients we get from China,” Meyer says, “and it doesn’t necessarily have to be in the ingredients, it can be on the confounded containers that they use to haul the stuff over here.”

A livestock economist says African Swine Fever could have a big impact on hog prices in coming months.

Steve Meyer with Kerns and Associates says if African Swine Fever continues to spread in China, it could be positive for U.S. pork producers.

“If the losses in China get completely out of hand and they have to go to the world market to just feed their people—and if we can get our tariff situation settled enough that we can participate in that—that would be a real positive.”

But if AFS were to enter the U.S., Meyer says, it would obviously be a negative. “If it comes here and we’re blocked from exports immediately, and we have 23 percent more pork and we’ve got to work through all that—even if we contain it quickly and it doesn’t kill many pigs, we can’t export until we prove it’s contained.”

But Meyer also thinks the U.S. is much better prepared to deal with an ASF outbreak, which could limit any potential long-term damage to markets.

AUDIO: Curtis Meier

AUDIO: Steve Meyer

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