Tag Archives: pigs

An invasion of gnats is presenting a risk to the health and lives of livestock in a southern Minnesota town.

The Mankato Free Press reports that gnats cause weight loss and stress for any animal with their bites and by gathering around eyes and in airways.

Brooke Knisley, who runs an organic produce farm with her husband in St. Peter, says one of her friends has lost 16 chickens to the gnats this year. Knisley says she’s trying to reduce the risk for her own flock by running fans in the chicken coop, hanging fly strips and placing vanilla-soaked rags near where the gnats congregate.

Gnats are also an irritant for cattle and horses, and many owners are keeping their animals inside until the invasion passes.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea said today (Wednesday)  it is actively fighting the spread of the highly contagious African swine fever weeks after it reported an outbreak near its border with China.

The North’s official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said workers around the country were proceeding with “airtight” quarantine efforts to prevent the spread of the disease and ensure safety in livestock production.

African swine fever has decimated pig herds in China and other Asian countries. It’s harmless to people but is fatal to pigs and has no known cure.

There’s concern in South Korea that the outbreak in the North could spread across the border. Lee Sang-min, a spokesman for Seoul’s Unification Ministry, which deals with inter-Korean affairs, said the North has yet to respond to calls for joint quarantine efforts.

The North Korean newspaper said quarantine efforts were focused on disinfecting farms and transport vehicles, restricting visitors, and banning the distribution of food products containing pork. The newspaper’s references to nationwide quarantine efforts points to the possibility the disease has spread beyond the border area with China.

“At areas around the country, emergency quarantine efforts are being aggressively pushed to prevent the spread of the African swine fever, which is a highly contagious viral disease,” the newspaper said.

South Korean officials say North Korea has not reported an additional case since it said the illness had occurred at a farm in Jagang province to the World Organization for Animal Health in late May. The North said 77 of the 99 pigs at the farm died of the disease and the remaining 22 pigs were culled.

But South Korean Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul said in television interview on Sunday that the ministry was receiving unspecified “intelligence” that the disease was spreading to other areas in North Korea.

“It’s difficult to accurately confirm (the spread of the disease), so there’s a need for us to anticipate and prepare (for that possibility) to some degree,” he said.

An outbreak South Korea could hurt a massive industry that involves 6,300 farms raising more than 11 million pigs.

South Korean workers have tested pigs from some 340 farms near the inter-Korean border, with all those tests results negative, and also installed fences and traps to prevent livestock from being infected by wild boars that roam in and out of North Korea.

South Korea’s military, which is monitoring the movement of wild boars through heat sensors installed along the border, said it would be difficult for wild boars to cross over barbed wire fences in the mine-scattered border zone. But officials say there’s still a possibility that the animals could swim across rivers.

South Korea is also tightening control at harbors and airports, while imposing a 5 million won ($4,200) fine on travelers who fail to report food products containing pork after visiting countries dealing with African swine fever. Repeat offenders can be fined up to 10 million won ($8,470).

The National Pork Producers responded to President Trump’s plan to impose a five percent tariff on all Mexican imports by June 10. NPPC President David Herring appealed to Trump to reconsider his plans to open a new trade dispute with Mexico. “American pork producers cannot afford retaliatory tariffs from its largest export market which Mexico will surely implement,” he says. “Over the last year, trade disputes with Mexico and China have cost hard-working U.S. pork producers and their families about $2.5 billion.”

Herring is asking Washington to move forward with ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement and preserve zero-tariff pork trade in North America for the long term. “We’re also asking for a trade agreement with Japan,” he says, “as well as a resolution to the trade dispute with China. U.S. pork has a historic opportunity to make inroads into the Chinese market as the country continues to struggle with the African Swine Fever outbreak.” For most of the past year, American pork farmers have lost about $12 per hog due to trade retaliation by Mexico, which recently lifted the retaliatory tariffs last week.

Those numbers come directly from Iowa State University Economist Dermot Hayes, who says U.S. pork producers will lose the entire Mexican market if they face protracted retaliation. Mexico brought in 20 percent of total U.S. pork exports last year.

Pork producers have been hit hard by the trade war with China, to the tune of about $2.5 billion. A part of the administration’s trade aid announced last year, the USDA announced a food purchase and distribution program.

The agency would buy pork and other farm products for various food-assistance programs. North Carolina pork producer and NPPC President David Herring had a lot to say on the topic during an op-ed piece in The Hill. Herring says the program’s overarching goals are to provide demand stimulus for the entire pork industry. “Unfortunately, some people are focused on whether the meat companies have some degree of foreign ownership,” he says. “That is irrelevant.

Since when is foreign ownership of U.S. companies that employ thousands of Americans, purchase millions of hogs, and produce U.S. pork a problem?” He says that if foreign-owned companies are not permitted to participate in government purchase programs, those programs likely will not work. Going into 2018, the financial analysts had forecast profits for U.S. hog producers.

However, those forecasts were turned upside down by trade retaliation penalties. “Only now are we starting to pull out of the red,” Herring adds, “but because of trade retaliation, our small profits are significantly suppressed.”