It’s been one heck of a week, but the swine industry stepped up and said, “challenge accepted.” National Pork Board

ASF, Hurricane Florence: From crisis, opportunity arises

As potential danger drew near this week, so many leaders in the swine industry sprung into action and used the situation as an opportunity to educate.

It’s been one heck of a week for the swine industry. As China stepped up efforts to get a handle on African swine fever, the virus showed up in Belgium for the first time in 33 years. While North Carolina hog producers were scurrying to protect their herds before Hurricane Florence hit, the North Carolina Pork Producers Council was diligently working to get in front of the fake news that activists were already spewing.

Yes, it’s been one heck, or should I say hell, of a week.

But as I sat here this morning munching on a strip of bacon, a famous JFK quote came to mind. “When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.”

As potential danger drew near this week, so many leaders in the swine industry sprung into action and used the situation as an opportunity to educate the industry as well as the public. With so many questions arising about the spread of ASF, as well as classical swine fever, specifically through feed and feed ingredients, Kansas State University staff put together an FAQ to help provide some answers. The North American Spray Dried Blood and Plasma Producers reiterated the safety of their products and detailed the World Health Organization guidelines they must follow. “At The Meeting … Honoring Dr. Bob Morrison” devoted two podcasts to the virus. Next week, the Allen D. Leman Swine Conference will host an entire session on ASF.

While we were educating ourselves, the NCPC was busy getting the correct facts out to the public in the wake of Hurricane Florence. The Pork Council reminded the public about the misleading coverage in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew and explained the exact precautions North Carolina hog producers were taking to protect animals, manage lagoons and prepare for power outages.

Yes, it’s been one heck of a week, but the swine industry stepped up and said, “challenge accepted.” The industry is not saying woe is me, it’s asking what can we do to fix this? What’s the next step? What can we do better?

When life gives you lemons, it’s so positive to see so many leaders in our industry trying to make lemonade out of the situation. I look forward to seeing so many of those leaders in action next week at the Leman Conference.

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