ASF Action Week: There’s a Lot to Lose

ASF Action Week: There’s a Lot to Lose

This week, pork producers can learn about African swine fever prevention, preparedness and response during USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service ASF Action Week. Register for the upcoming webinars by visiting aphis.usda.gov.

Dr. Patrick Webb, Acting Chief Veterinarian for the National Pork Board, says there is a lot to lose if an ASF outbreak hits the U.S. without quick eradication.

“When you look at the pork industry here in the United States, there’s a lot at stake. We’ve got 62,000 pig farmers out there in the United States, they employ 550,000 people are employed in the pork industry, and you start considering, you know how much production goes on, and what you know the value of the industry is you know, 2020 to $20 billion.” 

Webb says exports would shut down if there was an ASF outbreak, but the U.S. produces 13% of the world’s pork. The U.S. industry exports about 29% of its product to worldwide countries, including China, Japan and Mexico, and with an export value of $58.65 per market hog, that is a hit to the U.S. economy.

“If we lose the ability to export our product, it is going to be a significant financial hit to the industry to the tune of billions and billions of dollars. And so, I spent a little time highlighting that, the importance of  the industry and the importance of trade and commerce to the industry.” 

During his presentation on Monday, Webb says the pork industry of 2021 is not what the industry was in 2001. 26 million pigs were moved with health papers in 2001 compared to 53 million today.

“We’ve significantly increased the export value since 2001. And so, when you start to look at how this industry moves and how we do business, we move pigs, and we move pigs very efficiently and very effectively. But if we are restricted in that, we’re going to run into some severe problems with animal welfare, and as you know pork producers care deeply about the welfare of their pigs and so we have to be prepared.” 

Visit porkcheckoff.org for up-to-date information regarding ASF.