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North American Government Ag Departments Must Collaborate To Prevent African Swine Fever

Canada's top ag minister delivered a keynote speech to the 2021 summit of state agriculture and rural leaders conference, that was held online.
 
Marie Claude Bibeau pledged to work with the incoming US administration to further strengthen the bilateral trading relationship the two countries enjoy. Bibeau also spoke of the many challenges that COVID put on farmers, processors and the entire food value chain. In 2019, bilateral trade in agriculture and agri-food between Canada and the US reached 60 billion dollars. It's very likely that Tom Vilsack, who served as USDA secretary in the Obama administration will return to the job after Joe Biden takes over as president this month. 
 
Canada's top ag minister, Marie Claude Bibeau also mentioned ASF (African Swine Fever) in her speech last week to the summit of state ag and rural leaders conference. Right now, there are no confirmed cases of African swine fever in north America. The disease devastated the hog industry in China over the past two years, and more recently sent the industry in Germany into a tail spin as well, after the disease showed up in wild boar. Farmscape reporter Bruce Cochrane spoke with John Ross, the executive director of the Canadian Pork council. He says both countries are jointly working on an action plan, that includes preparedness and communication. Ross says even a single confirmed case in Canada would be devastating. "For Canada, where we export the better part of 70% of what we produce, an outbreak of African Swine Fever would be devastating and the simple reason is the initial reaction from Canada's trading partners will be to close their borders."
 
"The challenge that we have and the complexity of this problem is that you have an animal health disease that spreads," comments Ross.  In order to, one, prevent its introduction into Canada, and secondly, prevent its introduction on any of our farms, at the border, Canada Border Service Agency has a lead role to play here as well as the Canada Food Inspection Agency."
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