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Agencies collaborate on foreign animal disease preparedness

Source: Wikimedia Commons

African Swine Fever (ASF) remains outside our borders. However, animal industry experts calculate their response, in the event the foreign animal disease is exposed to United States swine.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) officials continuously update its Foreign Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Plan (FAD PReP), a framework for FAD preparedness and response. Similar to the USDA, U.S. swine industry officials seek new ways to respond to a deadly virus, also known as African Swine Fever, should it reach the United States. 

Dr. Lisa Becton, director of swine health information and research at the National Pork Board, speaks this collaborative effort, which has local, state and federal entities working closely together.

“We’ve been working closely with the United States Department of Agriculture on functional exercises that mimic what we do if we get the disease. We had an exercise, over four days, which had different things we needed to focus on. We learned a lot from that,” Becton said. “There is a lot we need to do to, but it was a great effort across all of the industry to try and address this disease.”

Swine industry officials are prepared to overcome African Swine Fever, according to Becton. She believes, however, “We (swine industry) can always do better and be more prepared.”

“The exercise pointed out things that are good, but also (showed) us there are things we don’t have a lot of answers for. How do we get animals out of a hold if we have to quarantine a farm? Do we have the right sample types for disease diagnosis? Do we have the right permitting and data system to handle information that has to go between state producers, state vets and federal vets? Those are just some of the things,” Becton said. 

Pork producers are encouraged to enroll in the Secure Pork Supply Plan at www.securepork.org.

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