Naig Applauds USDA for Enhanced African Swine Fever Prevention Activities

Continued collaboration with federal, state, industry leaders to prevent disease outbreak

DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today commended the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the additional steps it is taking to prevent African Swine Fever (ASF) from entering the United States. Although ASF does not affect human health or pose food safety risks, it has spread internationally and continues to threaten Iowa’s pork industry.

“The effects of a foreign animal disease outbreak here in Iowa would be devastating for our producers,” said Naig. “I appreciate USDA’s efforts to take preventative measures and for its continued collaboration with our Department and the industry to stop an outbreak from coming ashore.”

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship recently hosted a two-day national exercise with USDA focused primarily on ASF. During the exercise, the Department reviewed existing state response plans with veterinarians, industry partners and experts from other agencies. The exercise was part of the Department’s ongoing and long-term Foreign Animal Disease preparedness strategy that began earlier this year and will continue this spring with local workshops for livestock producers. These stakeholder outreach events allow all aspects of Iowa’s pork industry to become familiar with national and state Foreign Animal Disease response efforts and to provide input in the planning process.

USDA’s announcement outlines enhanced activities geared towards national prevention of ASF entry to the United States:

  • Work with Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) to train and add 60 additional beagle teams for a total of 179 teams working at key U.S. commercial sea and air ports;
  • Coordinate with CBP on the further expansion of arrival screenings at key U.S. commercial sea and air ports — including checking cargo for illegal pork/pork products and ensuring travelers who pose an ASF risk receive secondary agricultural inspection;
  • Increase inspections and enforcement of garbage feeding facilities to ensure fed garbage is cooked properly to prevent potential disease spread;
  • Heighten producer awareness and encourage self-evaluations of on-farm biosecurity procedures;
  • Work to develop accurate and reliable testing procedures to screen for the virus in grains, feeds and additives, and swine oral fluid samples;
  • Work closely with officials in Canada and Mexico on a North American coordinated approach to ASF defense, response and trade maintenance; and
  • Continue high-level coordination with the U.S. pork industry leadership to assure unified efforts to combat ASF introduction.

ASF is a highly contagious and deadly viral disease affecting both domestic and feral (wild) pigs in all age groups. It is spread by contact with the body fluids of infected animals. For more information visit the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Web site.