U.S. Department of Agriculture undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs Greg Ibach attended the National Pork Industry Forum this week. As part of USDA’s efforts to prevent the spread of African swine fever (ASF) to the U.S., Ibach discussed enhanced activities the Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is taking to intensify multi-agency efforts toward the prevention of ASF’s entry into the U.S.
In coordination with the pork industry, Ibach explained that USDA is pursuing research on accurate reliable testing procedures to screen for the virus in grains, feeds and additives and swine oral fluid samples.
Following along the lines of what is known on foot and mouth disease, USDA also continues to pursue different planning and response exercises. Ibach detailed efforts specifically tailored towards ASF response.
USDA is also ramping up its efforts at the border, enlisting an additional 60 new beagles as part of the APHIS Beagle Brigade at airports and seaports to screen arrivals, including checking cargo for meat and ensuring that travelers who pose an ASF risk receive a secondary agricultural inspection.
National Pork Producers Council president Jim Heimerl, a pork producer from Johnston, Ohio, welcomed the ASF response steps from USDA, saying, "With no available vaccine, prevention is our only defense. We thank undersecretary Greg Ibach and the USDA's Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service for strengthening safeguards to protect our animals and the rural economy."
For the full list of measures, visit USDA’s website here. For the full audio, click below.