As we flip the calendar to 2019, we are offered the chance to look ahead as well as look back on what has been.
Heading into 2018, American farmers were bracing themselves for what might happen if President Trump would follow through with threats to place tariffs on steel and aluminum from global trade partners. Well, it didn’t take long to see that countries would indeed offer retaliatory tariffs of their own.
This was not good news for American pig farmers as they had been making great strides in the global marketplace, as almost 27% of U.S. pork production had been finding its way onto foreign consumers’ tables.
Not good news, but it wasn’t entirely a surprise as tariffs were on the lips of many heading into 2018.
What had been in the back of many pork producers’ minds moved to the forefront, as African swine fever started its spread across China and eastern Europe. At the start of the year, ASF was a still in the “if” it gets to the United States status, but after the Asian and European spread that “if” turned into a big “when” ASF reaches the U.S. swine herd.
The sad thing is, that try as we might, the swine industry can do everything within its power to keep ASF and other foreign animal diseases at bay, but one slip by a worldly traveler could expose our herd to ASF.
As we look forward to 2019, let’s hope that ASF reverts back to its “if” status.
In this new year, will the trade issues be resolved? Will disease spread be averted? Let’s hope 2019 doesn’t bring with it a surprise like ASF’s spread.