The appraisal was in response to USDA’s undersecretary of agriculture, Greg Ibach, introducing new measures to “intensify multi-agency efforts towards the prevention of ASF’s entry into the United States.”
The increased measures taken by the USDA to stop ASF from affecting the US pork industry include working with Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) to add 60 additional beagle teams for a total of 179 beagles at key US airports and sea ports.
The co-ordination with the CBP will also include the expansion of arrival screenings to check cargos for illegal pork products and ensure travellers who pose an ASF risk receive secondary agricultural inspection.
Other measures include collaborations with officials in Canada and Mexico on a co-ordinated approach to ASF defence response and trade maintenance.
The NPPC said it believed that the risk of ASF was growing, as outbreaks continued throughout China and other parts of Asia.
NPPC’S president Jim Heimerl said US pork producers were already facing headwinds in terms of trade disputes with key export markets and an outbreak of ASF would be “devastating”.
“With no available vaccine, prevention is our only defence. We thank undersecretary Greg Ibach and the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) for strengthening safeguards to protect our animals and the rural economy,” said Heimerl.
“We look forward to continued dialogue with USDA to do all that we can to keep ASF and other animal diseases out of the United States.”