This week has been declared African Swine Fever (ASF) awareness week. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) are joining with national, state, and local pork groups to help shed a light on what impact AFS could have in the United States. The proactive efforts have ramped up since AFS was discovered in the Western Hemisphere for the first time. The Dominican Republic showed the first cases almost two months ago.
The National Pork Board and the Pork Checkoff are a part of the efforts to bring producers up to speed on the latest information on ASF. Dr. Patrick Webb is the Acting Chief Veterinarian for the National Pork Board. He says that without quick containment and eradication, the United States pork industry stands to lose quite a bit, should ASF be found within our borders.
Pork exports would obviously come to a screeching halt if the disease were to break out here. The significance is that the United States produces 13% of the world’s pork supply, and exports 29% of its production. Our biggest customers are China, Japan, and Mexico. The export market adds a value of almost $59 per hog. That would be a significant hit to the economy.
Webb added that the industry has changed a lot in the past 20 years. In that time, we have more than doubled the number of hogs that move with health papers. In 2021 we are expected to reach 53 million hogs, compared to 26 million just two decades ago.
Learn more about ASF and what you can do by visiting the Pork Checkoff website.