During the August Pork Checkoff producer webinar, guest speakers shared how their agencies collaborate domestically and internationally. Speakers included:

  • Dr. Rosemary Sifford from USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
  • John Sagle from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

Al Wulfekuhle, Iowa pork producer, board member of National Pork Board (NPB) and chair of the National Swine Disease Council, also provided tips for how producers can continue to prevent and prepare for a foreign animal disease (FAD) outbreak.

NPB continues to collaborate with partners to prevent an FAD outbreak in the U.S., like African swine fever (ASF). These collaborations are also preparing the industry for what could happen if it enters U.S. borders.

ASF was confirmed on July 28 in the Dominican Republic. USDA is assisting the Dominican Republic to eradicate the costly disease by providing testing support, personal protective equipment and increasing biosecurity outreach.

Importance of Biosecurity — Dr. Rosemary Sifford, USDA APHIS

What Happens if there is a Positive Case of ASF in the U.S?

The Dominican Republic case of ASF is less than 1,000 miles away from the U.S. border, so government agencies like USDA use the Dominican Republic case as an opportunity to prepare producers and key stakeholders if ASF were to enter the U.S.

“A positive African swine fever case and would trigger federal, state and local emergency response plans, which included detailed surveillance action plans,” explains Sifford. “We’ve also worked closely with Canada and Mexico to develop a North American response strategy.”

The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) does not distinguish between territories and states for positive ASF status. Therefore, Sifford explained the U.S. would be considered affected if Puerto Rico or other U.S. territories were to have a confirmed case. USDA is working to have documentation ready, if needed, to work with trading partners to regionalize the mainland and prove there are mitigation measures in place to protect the U.S. swine herd and continue trade.

As a protection measure, USDA has also deployed prevention efforts with Puerto Rico by speeding up a six-year plan to eradicate feral swine from the island. Puerto Rico does participate in the national African swine fever and classical swine fever surveillance plan.

Plan to Eradicate Feral Swine from Puerto Rico — Dr. Rosemary Sifford, USDA APHIS

USDA: Collaborating with Experts on Prevention Efforts

USDA is working closely with CBP to protect the U.S. at ports of entry. CBP’s ever-famous beagle brigade aids in the identification of smuggled animal products primarily in passengers’ luggage.

Additionally, USDA and CPB are working with airlines to ensure proper disposal of trash from airplanes with passengers from high-risk countries. On August 6, 2021, USDA-APHIS issued a Federal Order establishing additional requirements for dogs imported into the U.S. for resale from countries where ASF exists. This will take effect on August 16, 2021.

USDA Prevention Efforts — Dr. Rosemary Sifford, USDA APHIS

CBP: Gatekeeper to the Country’s Borders

“We employ a layered approach to cargo and people coming into the U.S. using advanced information to target, select and clear legitimate goods and stop the illegitimate movement of goods,” says Sagle.

Ports of entry include:

  • land borders from cargo and person crossings
  • airports with people and cargo
  • seaports with vessel cargo
  • postal mail
  • express consignment delivery services
  • cruise ships
  • private charter boats and planes

ASF in the Western Hemisphere creates unique challenges with smaller planes and boats and multiple ports of entry; CBP is working to mitigate these ports’ risks.

Mitigate Risks at Ports of Entry — John Sable, U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Producers: Every Day On-Farm Protectors for the U.S. Industry

What Producers Can Do — John Sable, U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Al Wulfekuhle reminded all U.S. pork producers to create a free AgView account. AgView is a Pork Checkoff-funded, contact-tracing platform to help mitigate the spread and damage caused by a potential foreign animal disease outbreak in the U.S. swine herd.

Create AgView Account — Al Wulfekuhle, NPB Board Member

Additional steps that U.S. pork producers can take to protect their pig herds include:

  • Coordinate with their veterinarian on enhanced biosecurity plans; and
  • Seek and report symptoms of ASF.

Click here to read more ways to prepare and protect farms and the domestic pork industry from the threat of ASF.

View Full Webinar Recordings

USDA: African Swine Fever in the Dominican Republic

Guest speaker Dr. Rosemary Sifford from USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) shared an overview of steps taken by USDA to prevent and prepare for an FAD outbreak like ASF.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection: African Swine Fever Prevention

John Sagle from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) shared how CBP collaborates with partners to prevent an African swine fever outbreak in the U.S.

5 Ways to Protect Pigs and the Industry from ASF: NPB Board Member Al Wulfekuhle

Al Wulfekuhle, a board member of the National Pork Board, provided tips for how pork producers can continue to prevent and prepare for an FAD outbreak. Wulfekuhle is also an Iowa pork producer and chair of the National Swine Disease Council.