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African swine fever requires action during National Pork Month

As we celebrate National Pork Month in October, we need to recognize the importance of protecting U.S. pigs from a foreign animal disease. According to an Iowa State University study, an African swine fever outbreak in this country could cost the U.S. pork industry more than $75 billion over 10 years. Other agricultural sectors also would suffer as feed grain use would decline and livestock employment would fall. Pork exports valued at $7.7 billion in 2022 would stop, forcing farmers out of business.

This topic is especially timely, given ongoing negotiations with the 2023 Farm Bill and proactive efforts underway by U.S. pork producers to strengthen the nation’s swine traceability standards.

It’s vital that lawmakers prioritize funding in the 2023 Farm Bill for prevention and preparedness efforts. Renewal and expansion of key farm bill programs will allow the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, state animal health officials and other stakeholders to deploy early detection, prevention and rapid-response tools should an outbreak occur. In addition, robust laboratory capacity will provide surveillance, and a viable stockpile of vaccines (for diseases which one is available) will support a rapid response.

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