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Pork producers call for enhanced biosecurity

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Fourteen states participated in a series of exercises this week to further their capacity to effectively respond to and mitigate an African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak. 

An Iowa pork producer, testifying before the Senate Committee for Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry, calls for prevention efforts, designed to keep foreign animal diseases (FAD) out of the United States. 

Trent Thiele, president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association, earlier this week addressed the Senate Agriculture Committee. He spoke to “issues of critical importance,” specifically protection from foreign animal disease.

“The risk of ASF, a deadly disease only affecting pigs, is growing, as outbreaks continue in Europe, China and other parts of Asia. NPPC has worked closely with the USDA and Customs & Border Protection to strengthen biosecurity at our borders, and we are thankful for their strong response,” Thiele said.

The National Pork Producers Association, however, thinks more can be done. Thus, the organization is asking for appropriation funding to support 600 additional Customs & Border Patrol (CBP) agricultural specialists at our borders. 

Another disease, which threatens U.S. producers, is Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD). 

“Unlike ASF, vaccines do exist. But the U.S. does not have enough vaccines to respond to an outbreak,” Thiele said. “As you know, the 2018 Farm Bill includes mandatory funding for the development of a vaccine bank. We ask Congress to support USDA implementation of the Farm Bill, as intended.”

Thiele also stressed the need for trade certainty and approval of new technologies.