Economist estimates $50 billion in economic losses if ASF reaches US

If African Swine Fever were to enter the US, an economist predicts revenues for the pork industry could be up to $50 billion less over 10 years.

Dermot Hayes with Iowa State University tells Brownfield African Swine Fever would put a halt to pork exports.

“We are currently exporting about 30% of the pork we produce. So, if we have to rely on market forces to address the issue, we would eventually have to get Americans to buy 30% more pork.”

Hayes says he conducted his study with two different scenarios.

“In the scenario where we get rid of it quickly, most of the losses are associated with much lower prices. In the scenario where we have it forever, the employment losses are pretty large because we would be downsizing a labor-intensive industry.”         

Hayes says he sees some symmetry between actions take to mitigate COVID-19 and what an ASF outbreak would look like. 

“What we have learned with the coronavirus is that it would be really nice to be able to back track. If somebody comes down with the virus, we would like to be able to back track and find out all the people they have come in contact with in the last two weeks.”

He says most swine farms are prepared and have the technology to track who their pigs have been in contact with.  

Interview with Dermot Hayes

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