Protecting US ag from the growing threat of foreign animal diseases

Preventing African Swine Fever from entering the United States remains one of the top priorities for the US pork industry.

During a recent Farm Foundation Forum, Dr. Dan Kovich, director of science and technology, with the National Pork Producers Council says because of the global nature of the pork industry, diseases like African swine fever pose an increasing threat to the US agriculture and all areas are vulnerable.  “There is a lot of movement, trade, and components between various countries,” he says. 

Kovich says a lot of the vitamins and minerals used in animal diets come from China.  And while sourcing them from somewhere else seems like a simple solution, he says the answer isn’t that easy.  “With the globalization of these industries the fact is there isn’t any other place to get them from anymore,” he says.  “That is – for many of these ingredients – the sole source.  So, we do have to manage that risk.”

The US ag industry has biosecurity safeguards in place, but the panelists on the Farm Foundation’s forum stressed that gaps remain, and innovative and collaborative solutions are needed to safeguard all of American agriculture. 

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