African Swine Fever continues to spread in Southeast Asia. In this edition of Pork Pod, Pork Checkoff director of swine health programs Dr. Patrick Webb highlights the latest developments and the implications for the U.S. swineherd.
Patrick Webb, Director of Swine Health Programs, National Pork Board
Don Wick: 00:00 From the Pork Checkoff in Des Moines Iowa, it’s Pork Pod. Pork Pod, a look at the hot topics in today’s pork industry. The Pork Checkoff is working for you through various forms of research, promotion, and consumer information projects. I’m Don Wick speaking on behalf of the Pork Checkoff, and today our guest is Dr. Patrick Webb, who is the director of swine health programs for the Pork Checkoff. And Patrick, we have some new developments as it relates to African swine fever. Can you bring us up to speed?
Patrick Webb: 00:28 Well African swine fever continues to spread and now we are getting reports out of Korea, out of South Korea, that they indeed have two cases of African swine fever on pig farms in the northern part of South Korea, just right up on the border with North Korea, which we already knew was positive. So this is concerning for our friends in Korea.
Don Wick: 00:57 Do they have any connection to China or anything or how would they, any idea where the virus came from?
Patrick Webb: 01:04 Well, you know, to speculate exactly where it came from might be a bit premature. I’m sure that their animal health officials will be trying to figure out exactly how that occurred. But this isn’t, this isn’t surprising. The FAO, you know, after ASF started spreading in China and started getting into other parts of Asia, you know, predicted that we would see this particular virus move. And so, you know, having it in North Korea certainly provides a risk to South Korea. And whatever activities that may have brought it in, we don’t know. But there are certainly risky activities that might’ve occurred.
Don Wick: 01:43 When you see these stories like this, it really brings to mind the importance of keeping it out of, out of our borders. Where can producers and those in the industry learn more?
Patrick Webb: 01:53 Well for our pork producers out there, prevention is number one. We have got to focus on biosecurity and that is making sure that we harden our target here in the United States and making sure that our farms are as secure as they can be. So producers can learn a lot at pork.org/FAD and they can also learn more about what’s going on at factsaboutpork.com. And as always, we want to push folks over to the Secure Pork Supply, our securepork.org website, as well to take a look at different opportunities for enhancing biosecurity today. You know, it all really boils down to the, we’re learning to live with ASF in Asia. It’s going to be there, it’s going to be tough to root out. And so it really, we’ve got to double down on prevention and that’s really where we need to focus.
Don Wick: 02:43 How would you gauge where the response is between the public and the private sector in trying to do just that, keep it out of our borders?
Patrick Webb: 02:53 I’ll tell you what, I have not seen such activity for, you know, a state industry, federal approach to making sure that we are preventing and protecting and working on our response capabilities. I’d say, you know, based on the exercises that have been done this year, that USDA has funded, that the industry’s participated in, we’re really seeing a cooperative effort. We’re really seeing, you know, the hard conversations occurring on how we could respond potentially to a case of African swine fever in the United States. And so, obviously interest is high and it’s driving the conversation and ultimately that conversation is going to lead to us being better prepared and ready just in case we were to get something.
Don Wick: 03:40 Patrick Webb from the Pork Checkoff. Thank you for listening to this edition of Pork Pod. For more information on this topic or the Pork Checkoff itself, visit pork.org.