Foreign animal disease is number one priority for producers


Foreign animal disease is number one priority for producers

Foreign animal disease preparedness and prevention continues to be a priority for the nation’s pork producers.

Eastern Iowa pork producer Al Wulfekuhle says African Swine Fever is at the top of the list.   

“African Swine Fever is one of the worst diseases because mortality approaches 100 percent if it gets into your herd and it’s also a foreign animal disease so we would lose our export customers,” he says. “It’s very important we do everything we can to prevent it from getting into the United States. And then also, if it does get into the U.S., we need to find it quickly so we can help state veterinarians and USDA find it, trace it, and stamp it out.”

He tells Brownfield 25 percent of U.S. pork products are exported and any ASF outbreak would hurt the industry.

Wulfekuhle has enhanced biosecurity protocols on his farm.

“In the past, pre-ASF and pre-PED, we used to have employees travel from site to site to care for animals. We have since put a shower, washer and dryer, and clean clothes at every site. It protects the health of the pig and makes sure employees aren’t bringing it in, or if there’s something in the barn not taking it to the next barn,” he says. “…we’ve also done everything we can to funnel the feed ingredients directly into the grate and we cover the grate when we’re driving over it to make sure nothing comes off the tires or off the underside of trailers to get into the feed. We’re trying to keep it out of the buildings, sites, and feed.”

Wulfekuhle participated in a ASF preparedness panel during the recent National Pork Forum. He discussed the importance of the Secure Pork Supply and AgView.

“Programs like Secure Pork Supply and AgView and having accurate premise identification numbers fits together to do everything we can to show our veterinarians and everyone in the industry, including our domestic and international meat buyers, that we’re doing our part to keep it out and if it does get in, we have the ability to find it quickly,” he says.

Wulfekuhle’s farrow-to-finish farm markets 50,000 hogs each year.

The panel by the National Pork Board and National Pork Producers Association also included Kentucky State Veterinarian Katie Flynn; National Pork Board Assistant Chief Veterinarian Patrick Webb; and Smithfield Hog Production Veterinarian Jeremy Pittman.  

Audio: Al Wulfekuhle