USA, Washington. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) held an African swine fever (ASF) action week in mid-September with numerous webinars on the disease to inform and raise awareness among pig farmers.
At the event, the National Pork Board's director of swine health for the industry sales organization, Dr. Patrick Webb, warned that if ASF were to occur, the livelihoods of 62,000 hog farmers and 550,000 workers in the pork industry would be at risk. He pointed out that nearly 30% of the pork produced in the US was exported last year. In 1995, he said, the country became a net exporter, selling nearly 3 mill. t worth € 6.6 bn. abroad in 2020. In terms of a single pig, the value of exports was nearly € 50.4, he said.
"In the event of an ASF outbreak in the United States, most of these exports would have to cease," Webb warned. The trade impact in the event of an ASF detection in the US, whether it was a commercial pig, a feral pig or a backyard animal, would result in significant losses for farmers and the industry as a whole.
To limit these, the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) had already agreed on a protocol in March 2021 to allow bilateral trade to continue if ASF is detected in the feral swine herd and not the commercial swine herd. According to the protocol, in the event of an outbreak of the disease in feral pigs, all trade between the two countries will initially be suspended. Thereafter, however, trade in goods is to resume in three phases with decreasing restrictions on live pigs, porcine germplasm and untreated pork.