Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig is encouraging pork producers to take part in African Swine Fever Action Week.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is holding ASF Action Week from September 13-17. Secretary Naig says USDA APHIS and his office with Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will host educational webinars to help raise awareness about ASF.
“It’s really important to stress that ASF, while it’s a very real threat to the pork industry and it’s devastating to that industry, it’s not a human health issue and it’s certainly not a food safety issue,” said Naig. “We want to make sure folks know that it would be very devastating to our pork producers and the pork industry.”
African Swine Fever is a viral disease that affects commercial, backyard, show and wild pig populations. Naig explains a recent detection of ASF in the Dominican Republican is very concerning and should be a wake-up call for all U.S. farmers. It’s the first positive case of ASF in the Western Hemisphere in over 40 years.
“Typically, when a country has it confirmed in their borders, then export markets shut down,” said Naig. “When you think about the fact the U.S. pork industry exports roughly 30% of the pork we produce, and you would immediately shut down that export market, that would have a devastating impact on not just the pork industry from an economic standpoint, but all of the supporting cast and characters as well like the feed suppliers and everybody who touches the pork industry in our rural communities.”
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will host the following webinars for producers and veterinarians during ASF Action Week:
• Iowa Perspective: ASF in Action on Friday, September 10th from 3-4 p.m.
• Next Steps in Iowa: ASF in Action on Friday, September 17th from 2:30-3:30 p.m.
Secretary Naig says the webinars are free to attend and pre-registration is required.