The National Pork Producers Council’s board of directors has declared its decision to cancel World Pork Expo 2019 of a “abundance of caution” as African swine fever keeps on spreading in China and different parts of Asia.
World Pork Expo, held every June at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, has around 20,000 visitors more than three days, including individuals and exhibitors from ASF-positive regions.
David Herring, NPPC president and a producer from Lillington, North Carolina, said: “While an evaluation by veterinarians and other third-party experts concluded negligible risk associated with holding the event, we have decided to exercise extreme caution.
“The health of the US swine herd is paramount; the livelihoods of our producers depend on it. Prevention is our only defense against ASF and NPPC will continue to do all it can to prevent its spread to the United States.”
The decision to cancel the current year’s World Pork Expo comes as in excess of 100 US pork producers accumulated in Washington this week to meet with their members of Congress during NPPC’s Legislative Action Conference.
Mr Herring said that to augment the USDA’s efforts to protect the United States from ASF and other animal diseases, US pork producers are asking Congress to appropriate funding for 600 new US Customs and Border Protection agriculture inspectors to further strengthen our defences against African swine fever.
“Our farmers are highly export dependent,” Mr Herring said. “An ASF outbreak would immediately close our export markets at a time when we are already facing serious trade headwinds. The retaliatory tariffs we currently face in some of our largest export markets due to trade disputes are among the factors that prompted a conservative decision regarding World Pork Expo. US pork producers are already operating in very challenging financial conditions.”