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Agricultural News

Animal Disease Still a Serious Threat to Markets, But Much Progress Has Been Made to Limit Impact

Fri, 07 Sep 2018 11:31:44 CDT

Animal Disease Still a Serious Threat to Markets, But Much Progress Has Been Made to Limit Impact

According to Glynn Tonsor of Kansas State University, the world has come a long way in how it views BSE since the first time it caused a major market event in 2003, which you might know as “The Cow That Stole Christmas.” That case caused widespread panic in the market and cost the US beef industry its access to Asian markets. About a week ago though, the sixth case of the neurological disease, bovine spongiform encephalopathy or “Mad Cow Disease,” was reported in the US- this time in a six-year-old mixed-breed cow in Florida. This particular case, like most of those before it, was atypical and naturally occurring. Tonsor says that this case did several things, one of those being that it proved the system in place to monitor for BSE works. It also demonstrated how well the industry has learned from the past and educated the markets and consumers, he says, and how well that information has been received. Tonsor says that is clear in the fact that this occurrence was basically a non-event.

“Frankly, the market did not react much to the announcement compared in particular to the December 2003 case and I think there were some wins and lessons that are embedded in that,” Tonsor said. “There was a lot of blood, sweat and tears that followed that 2003 event. We learned a lot from a science perspective of how BSE works and how to monitor for it and how to make changes. But, probably just as importantly- how to communicate on these kinds of events and how to be ready. So, even though it was a non-market event in many way, that in itself is a win.”

There is one Foreign Animal Disease right now, though, that is moving the needle. Although it does not directly impact the beef industry, African Swine Fever poses a very dangerous threat to the world’s swine population and Tonsor asserts that beef producers should be paying attention and taking notes of what is going on. According to Tonsor, the eighth case of ASF was reported over Labor Day in China. So, far the disease hasn’t been discovered in the US. If this continues and the US remains unaffected, the US pork industry could stand to benefit. But, the real lesson from this is more starkly concerning to Tonsor.

“If there’s one take-home I want to leave everybody with, it is animal diseases matter,” he said. “We are in a global marketplace. When you have an event on one country’s production system, it shows up impacting others. I think that’s important for folks to recognize.”

Listen to Glynn Tonsor discuss the seriousness of animal diseases and the progress that has been made on limiting their market impacts, with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays, on today’s Beef Buzz.

The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.



Hear Tonsor discuss the seriousness of animal diseases and the progress made on limiting its impact.
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