small pigs being held National Hog Farmer/Kevin Schulz

IAV-S demands producers’ attention

Producing hogs is not an easy job. There is a reason that more people are not doing it, and it’s increasingly more difficult to find people willing to work in hog barns.

Diminishing labor force aside, producers are continually stressed with protecting their herds from the next disease to infect their herds. Take your pick — porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, Senecavirus A, etc. — there are plethora of pathogens just waiting to eat into your bottom line.

Just as producers tighten up biosecurity plans and learn how to tackle a specific strain of a virus, the virus adapts or sends a new strain at us.

Influenza A is one such virus in swine that has evolved over time. IAV-S has threatened U.S. producers for nearly 100 years, and the last few decades has seen new mutations helping the pathogen spread its tentacles across the nation’s hog operations.

One study shows IAV-S alone in a herd costs producers $3.23 per head in production losses, but the losses mount when other pathogens piggyback on top of IAV-S: $10.41-per-head loss when PRRS is also present; and $10.12-per-head loss when Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae is also in the herd.

With that in mind, producers need to get ahead of the game, or at least get in the game, by finding out all they can about the new world of IAV-S in swine herds. National Hog Farmer, with sponsorship from Boehringer Ingelheim, will present a Dec. 5 webinar “Influenza A Virus in Swine: A Serious Threat to Performance Potential.” The free hour-long webinar will focus on the basics of IAV-S, impact of IAV-S, current production practices to minimize the impact of IAV-S and why IAV-S is so difficult to control. Christa Goodell, technical manager for Boehringer Ingelheim swine division, is the featured speaker of the webinar.

Click here to register for the Dec. 5 webinar brought to you by National Hog Farmer and Boehringer Ingelheim.

Do not make the costly mistake of being blindsided by IAV-S in your herd. Get informed.

Speaking of costly mistakes …
Much has been said and written about the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement — the United States is pulling out, the United States is still in, NAFTA is being renegotiated — and who knows where it will all end?

NAFTA is 23-years-old, and it is good to take a look under the hood to give a good tune-up to the ol’ three-cylinder trade machine.

U.S. agriculture knows how important exports are to the industry, and it is plain to see the role NAFTA has played in that, as two of the top three export markets in fiscal year 2017 are Canada ($20.4 billion) and Mexico ($18.6 billion) — the two other legs of the three-legged NAFTA stool. China was the top export market with $22 billion. Pork exports grew 14% to $6.4 billion.

Any trade pact that lowers tariffs for U.S. products, not just U.S. ag products, is a boon for all Americans, so it is imperative that America’s best interests are strengthened in any trade negotiations or renegotiations.

An analysis posted today by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce outlines the impact an all-out withdrawal from NAFTA would have on individual states. Midwestern industrial and farm states rose to the top of the USCC most-to-lose list. According to this analysis, Michigan stands to lose the most if United States pulls out of NAFTA, with 366,000 jobs in the state depending on trade with Canada and Mexico. Sixty-five percent of the state’s exports (valued at $35 billion) are bound for our neighbors to the north and south.

Other states rounding out the top 10 of the Chamber’s list are Wisconsin, North Dakota, Texas, Missouri, Ohio, Iowa, Indiana, Arizona and Nebraska.

It’s easy to see the agricultural connections on this list, only strengthening the urgency that the word gets to the White House that NAFTA needs the United States, and more importantly the United States needs NAFTA.

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