Foreign Experience with ASF – Iowa Pork Congress, By Gary Flory, Owner, G.A. Flory Consulting

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On January 22 – 23, 2020, the Iowa Pork Producers Association hosted the 48th annual Iowa Pork Congress (IPC) in Des Moines, Iowa.  In addition to the trade show featuring approximately 300 vendors, IPC hosted a number of informational seminars of interest to the swine industry.

One seminar attracting a large crowd was the Foreign Experience with African Swine Fever seminar moderated by Dr. Andrew Hennenfent, the Emergency Management Coordinator for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.  Panelist included Todd Thurman with SwineTex Consulting Services, Gary Flory with G.A. Flory Consulting, and Ilia Zubtsov with PIC Services.  Each of the panelist has extensive experience with ASF prevention, response, and recovery from various parts of the world.

Todd Thurman, Owner, SwineTex Consulting Services

Todd has provided swine management consulting and training services in over a dozen counties.  However, much of his time over the last 18 months has been spent in China and Southeast Asia helping swine producers prevent, respond to and recover from African Swine Fever.

Here are a few of the insights Todd shared:

  • ASF has had a devastating impact on the swine industry. More than 65% of the Chinese herd has been lost to the disease.  This represents >30% of the world’s pigs.
  • Some causes include extraordinary pig density, poor biosecurity and ineffective control procedures.
  • ASF’s impact on the swine industry include a 150% increase in pig prices in impacted areas and profit per head in excess of $500 USD in China.
  • Conditions seem to be improving but recovery will be a slow process and many risk factors that contributed to the original outbreak remain.

Gary Flory, Owner, G.A. Flory Consulting

Gary founded G.A. Flory Consulting, a global consulting firm, to help clients with a range of services including animal disease and natural disaster response, agricultural emergency planning, and emergency response training.  He has conducted trainings, given presentations and deployed on numerous animal disease outbreaks, including African Swine Fever, around the country and internationally in countries such as the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, Tunisia, Korea, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia and Azerbaijan. Additionally, Gary has conducted numerous research projects on animal mortality management practices for the poultry and swine industry.

Gary shared these thoughts:

  • Depopulation must be planned and coordinated with carcass disposal.
  • Decontamination procedures should include thorough cleaning prior to disinfection.
  • If not done properly, carcass disposal has the potential to have significant biosecurity, human health, and environmental consequences.
  • Carcass grinding prior to composting has the potential to speed up the disposal process from 6 months to 30 days.
  • In the right environment, Above Ground Burial may be a useful carcass disposal method.

Ilia Zubtsov, Genetic and Technical Services Manager, PIC Russia.

Ilia is responsible for leading a team of genetic and technical specialists serving clients in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.  In that role, Ilia has been extensively involved in ASF activities, especially in Russia, where ASF was first reported in 2007.

Ilia shared these 5 major lessons from Russia’s ASF experience:

  • Protect your farm. Farms need strong biosecurity rules and awareness.
  • Culture of transparency. Culture must include openness and trust.
  • Regionalization and compartmentalization are key to the control of ASF and the continuity of operations.
  • Keep ASF infected meat out of the food chain.
  • Listen and learn. We are still learning about ASF control and need to never stop improving.

Following presentations by each of the panelist, Dr. Hennenfent moderated an active question and answer session.

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