Protecting U.S. Pork at Forefront of MN Pork Board Annual Meeting
Protecting United States pork was a hot topic at the Minnesota Pork Board's Annual Meeting at the capitol.
Producers discussed the spread of African Swine Fever in countries overseas and while there's never been a confirmed case in North America, producers aim to keep it that way.
"Most of the discussion centered on prevention rather than reacting to the disease if it actually got here," says David Preisler, CEO of Minnesota Pork Producers Association.
Currently making its rounds in China and recently smuggled to the Australian border, African Swine Fever sparked discussions around the key words prevention and biosecurity. Two topics that go hand in hand.
"Farms are already tightening down biosecurity and have been for quite awhile. Now it's just taking it to that next step and working with USDA and Custom Borders Patrol to just really make sure to tighten the whole inspection piece up," says Preisler.
Precautions are being taken on the border and on the farm to prevent further threat to markets that are already reeling from to tariffs on Mexico as around 50 percent of United States ham is exported across our southern border.
"As we look at Mexico for example, there is a 20% tariff on moving U.S. pork into Mexico because of the trade war that we're in right now, and that gets expensive, because you end up having to discount the product in order to cover the tariff to get it into the country and that all trickles down to farmers," explains Preisler.
Producers will continue to stress food safety.
"The things the U.S. does have, both from a reality stand point and also a perception standpoint, is we do have the best food safety in the world; and that is why we are a very comparative exporter of pork. In our case it's because our reputation, and again the reality is our product is really safe," says Preisler.
African Swine Fever only affects pigs and has no affect on human health.