As the one-year anniversary of China’s acknowledgment of ASF in its country’s herds nears (August 3), it’s a good time to evaluate where the U.S. pork industry stands in its ability to deal with this ongoing threat that has now engulfed much of southeast Asia.
“We’re definitely in a better position today to deal with a threat such as African swine fever,” says National Pork Board President David Newman, a producer representing Arkansas. “That said, we can never be too prepared with a devastating disease like this. What I like though is how much our industry has come together over the past 12 months in a spirit of collaboration to get the job done.”
It’s this kind of industry-wide collaboration that Dave Pyburn, the Pork Checkoff’s senior vice president of science and technology, says is the key point that he wants everyone to realize. “It’s always gratifying to see how willing the pork industry is to come together for a common goal. We are so much more effective when we get together to solve issues posed by threats such as ASF.”
Catalyst for Collaboration
For almost a year, the Pork Checkoff has taken a leading role in collaborating with multiple government and industry partners to protect the United States from African swine fever (ASF). Primary partners in this effort include the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Pork Producers Council, the North American Meat Institute, the American Association of Swine Veterinarians and the Swine Health Information Center. When it comes to working on feed biosecurity issues specifically, the American Feed Industry Association has also been essential to the effort.
By combining their resources, these organizations and others have been able to achieve a comprehensive response to ASF that has helped to harden the defenses of the domestic swine industry against this costly foreign animal disease and others like it.
“You can break our industry response to ASF into four main areas,” Pyburn says. “We have research, education, prevention and preparedness, which is where we will continue to focus our combined efforts.”