ILLINOIS (WCIA) — African swine fever has killed tens of millions of hogs across Europe, and particularly in China. It is a major food and agriculture issue that ranchers want to keep out of the United States.
China lost about half of its 600 million hogs to African swine fever and the pork industry is working hard to prevent it from entering the US.
The Illinois Pork Producers Association convened a high level meeting Tuesday to strategize a response.
“We have all facets of the industry. We have producers with boots on the ground, those raising pigs, those contract growers with multiple barns with pigs. We also have show pigs represented. We also have the packing industry. We have our state vet, the Illinois Department of Agriculture, and University of Illinois experts along with the IPPA staff here to brainstorm, collaborate and create the best effective plan that we can,” says Jennifer Ring with the IPPA.
“And we are calling that the foreign animal disease task force,” she says. “Most importantly is talking about African swine fever. Obviously, because of the pandemic, our mindset shifted a little bit to the human health crisis, but not to be forgotten is what is going on in the European countries and especially in China with African swine fever, so, IPPA has lead this organization of a task force to continue that conversation and planning an effort in response.”
It should be noted that African swine fever is not currently in the United States.
“The threat is always there and the threat is not going away and, like I said, it’s in over 40 countries as we speak, fingers crossed, still not in the United States, and the whole purpose of this meeting is to keep it out of the United States the best we can,” she says.
What can the task force do? Check back on Friday for another From the Farm report by Stu Ellis.