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USDA invests $500 million in ASF prevention

USDA invests $500 million in ASF prevention

The funding is part of $3 billion in total investments

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing hundreds of millions of dollars to help prevent a swine disease from entering the United States.

The USDA announced up to $500 million via the Commodity Credit Corporation to the department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service for African Swine Fever (ASF) monitoring, surveillance, prevention, quarantine and eradication activities.

“ASF outbreaks have proven devastating in other parts of the world due to lost production and trade. It is critical for all of us to work together to stop the spread of this disease,” the USDA said in a Sept. 29 release.

Farmers in multiple countries have experienced ASF.

Since 2007, for example, nearly 1 million pigs in Europe have been culled because of the disease.

The disease, which has a near 100 percent mortality rate, has also been detected in the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

Industry groups welcomed Wednesday afternoon’s announcement.

Dedicating this kind of funding to a single disease shows how important it is to keep ASF out of the U.S.

“To paraphrase then-Vice President Biden, this is a big freakin’ deal,” Bob Accord, a consultant with the National Pork Producers Council, said in a statement. “This is unprecedented both in terms of the amount dedicated to one animal disease and of getting the funds upfront, before we have the disease in the U.S.”

The funding for ASF prevention is part of a larger USDA package.

During a visit to Colorado State University on Wednesday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced $3 billion in investments to help with multiple industry issues including market disruption and drought recovery.

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