Bob Thaler

Bob Thaler

If a foreign animal disease enters the United States, it can be catastrophic for livestock producers.

To help South Dakota pork and other livestock producers understand the consequences and how to prevent disease outbreaks, several organizations are hosting Foreign Animal Disease Preparedness Meetings in Huron April 22 and Sioux Falls April 23. The meetings were rescheduled from April 10 and 11 due to weather.

“While many livestock producers in the U.S. may feel safe from the threat of foreign animal diseases like Foot and Mouth Disease and African Swine Fever due to the buffers of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, in 2013 we learned the hard way from outbreaks of Porcine Endemic Diarrhea, that diseases can and do travel across the world, and the results can be catastrophic,” SDSU Extension Swine Specialist Bob Thaler said.

Currently there are outbreaks of African Swine Fever in China, Vietnam and parts of the European Union. This fact, Thaler said, significantly increases the threat to U.S. pork, due to the vast amount of trade between those countries and the U.S.

“With approximately 27 percent of U.S. pork production exported, an occurrence of a foreign animal disease in the U.S. would be devastating to our swine producers, as well as to the other livestock industries and our corn and soybean producers,” Thaler said. “However, producers who have completed the Secure Pork Supply Plan and have no evidence of the disease in their herd should be given preference when swine movement is reestablished which will be a great benefit to them.”

Secure Pork Plan is one of many focuses of the one-day workshop. Thaler added that although workshop topics focus on pork, they are relevant to all livestock producers.

“In the event of a foreign animal disease outbreak, everyone will be affected,” Thaler said.

The meetings are hosted by SDSU Extension, the South Dakota Pork Producers Council and South Dakota Animal Industry Board.

The April 22 event in Huron will begin at 1 p.m. at the South Dakota State Fair Grounds, Nordby Hall (1060 3rd St SW, Huron, SD 57350).

The April 23 event in Sioux Falls will begin at 8:30 a.m. at Homewood Suites (3620 W Avera Dr/I 229 and Louise Avenue intersection south of the interstate).

Regulator issues will be addressed by Todd Tedrow, veterinarian with the Animal Industry Board. He will discuss regulatory issues that may need to be implemented in the event that a foreign animal disease such as Foot and Mouth or African Swine Fever is diagnosed in the U.S.

Secure Pork Supply program presentation will be hosted by Patrick Webb, National Pork Board. Secure Pork Supply program was developed by the National Pork Board to assist in reestablishing continuity of business.

For more information, contact Bob Thaler at 605-688-5435 or Glenn Muller, executive director for South Dakota Pork Producers, at 605-332-1600.