Missouri prepares and takes precautions against ASF

Missouri is working with the USDA and other states to prepare in the event that African swine fever enters the United States. A tabletop learning session presented scenarios in which ASF breaches the U.S. border, according to Chris Chinn, director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture.

“It was a simulated exercise where we pretended like it had hit Missouri or hit another state, and what would our reaction be,” Chinn told Brownfield Ag News. “How do you protect your farmers that are here in Missouri and make sure disease does not spread?”

Chinn urges hog farmers to seek advice from animal health professionals about precautions to take.

“Even if you just have one animal that’s a 4-H hog or an FFA hog, please reach out to a veterinarian and make sure that you know what risks are out there,” said Chinn, “and what biosecurity protocols you need to be following to be sure you’re not tracking a disease back and forth to your farm and putting your farm and your neighbor’s at risk.”

Missouri’s feral hogs are a possible vector of ASF and other swine diseases. Chinn says the Missouri Department of Conservation has prohibited feral hog hunting because it disrupts efforts to trap the animals.

“Hunting is used to control a population and we really need to eradicate that feral hog population,” Chinn explained. “That’s why they’ve been using the trapping methods that they have through the Department of Conservation with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to try to contain the spread of those feral hogs.”

It’s Chinn’s wish that the training and preparation will never be brought into practice.

“I hope that we’re doing all of this in vain and it never becomes a reality in Missouri,” said Chinn, “but if it does come to Missouri we want to make sure that we are prepared to contain that disease and make sure it doesn’t spread throughout our entire state.”

AUDIO: Chris Chinn

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