World Pork Expo Canceled
Earlier this week the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) board of directors announced that out of an abundance of caution the 2019 World Pork Expo in Des Moines Iowa was canceled. More than 20,000 visitors over three days attend World Pork Expo at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. Many of those visitors are from countries that have African Swine Fever (ASF.)
ASF is spreading in China and other Asian Countries. It is highly contagious and has an extremely high mortality rate. Remember, ASF only infects pigs. It presents no threat to people or a food safety concern. The USDA has projected that at this point China's pig crop had dropped 18 percent and is at the lowest level in 30 years.
China produces and consumes about half of the worlds pork. China produces about 5 times more pork than what is produced in the U S. So U.S. pork producers are hoping for an end to the trade War with China so we can export a lot more pork to China.
An outbreak of ASF in the United States would immediately close our export markets. We export around 30 percent of the pork that is produced. That means our pork industry would need to contract by a like amount. The projections are an ASF outbreak would cost the pork industry $8 billion. Corn and soybean producers would be affected too because pigs eat a lot of corn and soybean meal!
Veterinarians and third party experts thought there was "negligible" risk that someone attending World Pork Expo from a county with ASF would accidently spread it to the U.S. However, the NPPC decided to exercise extreme caution.