National Pork Board says “clock is ticking” if African swine fever reaches U.S.

The National Pork Board warns the impact of a domestic outbreak of African swine fever could be catastrophic to U.S. pig farmers.

Director of swine health Dr. Patrick Webb says a recent 10-year analysis estimates the pork and beef industries would lose nearly $80 million and the workforce could see job losses of 60,000 if ASF is discovered in the U.S. hog herd.

“If we have a confirmed case of African swine fever, the clock is ticking. And what we need to figure out is where disease is and isn’t as fast as possible.”

Dr. Dermot Hayes with Iowa State University tells Brownfield the scope of the impact hinges on exports.

“We do not have agreements with other countries as to how they would respond, so a likely event is that we would lose access to export markets. And the question is how long we lose access.”

Webb says that’s why NPB is encouraging pork producers to enroll in AgView.

“In our industry our producers have traceability data as part of their production records, and that information is absolutely vital for our state animal health officials to have immediately in an outbreak so they can make some decisions other than a stop movement.”

He says the data allows USDA to regionalize foreign animal disease outbreaks so exports from the entire country don’t get shut down.

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