Pork producers taking notes from COVID-19 outbreak to revise ASF plans

Pork producers are taking notes from the current pandemic to mitigate a potential outbreak of African swine fever.

So far, the United States is free of ASF, but it has been reported through Europe and Asia.

The Minnesota Pork Board says that the industry looked to the ASF playbook when fallout from the coronavirus began and learned a few lessons in the process.

According to CEO David Priesler, “The functional exercises that we have been participating in from a farm level for foot and mouth disease and ASF were helpful but not applicable, completely, in this situation, and we also found out not detailed enough. We, including USDA and farmers, were not ready for large scale emergency depopulation and disposal. I would suggest that the poultry industry is, but that really is because of experience they already had with avian influenza, but as we look at the hog side of things, as we look at the cattle side of things, I would say we are better today then when this thing started but we still have a ways to go.”

He says that the best solutions came from farms working with vets and nutritionists to ration diets and double stock barns in order to reduce the number of depopulated animals.