During USDA’s 95th Annual Agricultural Outlook Forum held last week in Arlington, Virginia, many issues were discussed by the various speakers. But there was one issue touched on by all three of the keynote speakers concerning the livestock industry. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Canadian Minister of Agriculture Lawrence MacAulay and Mexican Secretary of Agriculture Victor Villalobos all made comments about preventing the spread of African swine fever (ASF) to North America.
ASF has spread through China’s hog populations and parts of Europe, sparking fear of further spread globally. Market analysts say if the disease spreads to the U.S. it could curb shipments in the $6.5 billion export market for American pork. There is no vaccine for hogs and transmission of the disease can occur easily through contact between animals, through contaminated feed, and even through humans traveling from a contaminated site to an uncontaminated site via their shoes, clothes, vehicles, equipment etc. But the disease is not harmful to humans.