Update on USDA’s Efforts to Keep ASF out of the US

The African swine fever (ASF) has taken over China’s hog herd. Over 20% of the world’s largest hog herd has been infected with the disease. This could mean only good things for the US pork market. That is, if the disease stays out of the U.S.

At a hearing Tuesday, USDA officials gave an update on the effort to keep the fever out of the U.S. Greg Ibach undersecretary of marketing and regulatory programs says USDA has ramped up biosecurity and import control. Also noting, “We may be as long as 8 years from finding a vaccine that’s effective.” Ibach going on to say, AFS is a tough disease to find a cure for or test for. Although, diagnostic efforts are underway with Canada to test for the disease.

At the hearing, Ibach discussed precautionary measures and discussed a plan of action if the disease does become present in the U.S.

ASF can be transmitted by feed and contaminated objects because of its ability to thrive in harsh conditions. ASF does not affect people and food safety is not a concern.

U.S. hog prices have gone up this spring, but futures prices have lost ground by $7 to $10 per cwt for most contracts since mid-April.

There has been little impact in major cities in China, although demand is expected to increase in the coming months.

The tariff war between China and the U.S. has China refusing U.S. pork imports. Although, China has to get their pork for somewhere, such as Mexico and Canada. Canada and Mexico in return will sell their domestic pork to china, and begin picking up more pork from the U.S.