COVID-19 Relief Package For Pork Producers a Top Priority For NPPC Says Dr. Liz WagstromMon, 23 Nov 2020 15:49:22 CST
Government aid for pork producers hurt by pandemic-fueled market disruptions, foreign disease, wild hogs and ice storms is keeping Liz Wagstrom, chief veterinarian for the National Pork Producers Council, busy these days.
Wagstrom was recently interviewed via Zoom by Radio Oklahoma Agriculture Network Associate Farm Director and Editor KC Sheperd.
Obviously in Washington, D.C. things are uncertain now but as we look at the lame duck session there are a couple of major things we’re concerned about, Wagstrom said.
Number one on the list is a COVID-19 relief package for pork producers.
We’ve been asking for a covid relief package for producers hurt by market disruptions and trade disputes, Wagstrom said.
The NPPC official said the relief package should include assistance for a number of related issues.
She noted farmers who had to donate or depopulate animals need aid in restoring their herds.
We need more funding for national animal health laboratory network and disease prevention, she said.
Running a close second on the priority list is funding for customs and border protection which is funding by international airline tickets and cargo shipments. Both have been significantly reduced due to COVID-19.
Funding is needed for highly trained customs officials, she said.
This is our first line of defense and how we’re keeping foreign disease from our domestic herds, Wagstrom said.
African Swine Fever continues to be a challenge globally, she said.
It is still a disease among the wild boar population in Europe but in Asia it is in the commercial domestic herds.
We continue to work with USDA and FDA to make sure we’re as safe as possible, she said.
Domestically, wild hogs continue to cause problems for farmers.
The farm bill included significant funding for control measures through the USDA wildlife services and NRCS agencies.
The NPPC veterinarian advised producers to make sure feed for domestic hogs is kept secure from wild hogs and to slow the wild population growth.
They are destructive and dangerous, she said.
Weather can always cause major disruptions as we saw during the recent ice storm.
Wagstrom noted modern climate-controlled facilities designed to keep animals safe and secure need electricity.
Make sure generators are serviced and ready to kick on when needed, she said.
Consider what is the worst-case scenario and how to handle it, Wagstrom said.
Click on the listen bar below to hear more of KC’s interview with Dr. Wagstrom.
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