JoAnn Alumbaugh
JoAnn Alumbaugh

Chinese companies have the capability to quickly adopt technologies and learn from other markets. In 2013, China contributed 30 percent (80 million tons) of the total 267 million tons of global swine feed produced. However, this has raised concerns for U.S. producers. Vitamins, minerals and animal proteins are imported to the United States from China and there has been a significant increase in these products during the last five years.

There are presently three strains of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) in the United States and it is believed that all three originated in China. Dr. Butch Baker spoke at the American Association of Swine Veterinarians meeting in Dallas, Texas recently, and he believes the U.S. industry must take a hard look at “national bio-exclusion.” He says, “We must find out how these diseases are entering the United States. We’ve had five new disease strains in the last two years, and they have all originated somewhere other than the United States.”

It is still unknown exactly how the virus entered North America but because of the increase in Chinese feed-ingredient products, it raises a warning flag, and many producers and veterinarians want more information.

While U.S. researchers continue to work on the problem, it is hoped that Chinese researchers will do the same. Through research alliance programs and sharing of information, perhaps the industries in both countries can benefit.

China is going to be a strong force in years to come. Agriculturalists, researchers and allied industry personnel are anxious to make improvements and expand the industry with sustainable growth. It won’t happen overnight, but I’ll guarantee it will be sooner than we think. For those individuals and companies who work in partnership with Chinese entities, the potential rewards have been and will continue to be significant.