One of the U.S. pork industry’s top priorities for the next Farm Bill is establishing a Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccine bank, according to the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC). David Herring, a pork producer from Newton Grove, N.C. and NPPC vice president, shared information on the industry’s needs to a House Agriculture subcommittee in testimony last week. According to NPPC, a potential FMD outbreak would cost the beef, corn, pork and soy bean industries alone an estimated $200 billion over 10 years. To deal with FMD affectively, NPPC wants the 2018 Farm Bill to direct the U.S. Department of Agriculture to:

  • Contract with an offshore, vendor-maintained vaccine bank that would have available FMD antigen concentrate to protect against all 23 of the most common FMD types currently circulating in the world.
  • Maintain a vendor-managed inventory of 10 million doses of vaccine, which is the estimated need for the first two weeks of an outbreak.
  • Contract with an international manufacturer or manufacturers for the surge capacity to produce at least 40 million doses.

“FMD is endemic in parts of Asia, Africa, the Middle East and South America,” said Montserrat Torremorell, DVM, with the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota. “Unfortunately, we are not immune to new diseases and if anything, Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus reminds us that we need to remain vigilant and that we are still vulnerable despite the significant efforts made on biosecurity and foreign animal disease preparedness.

“We live in a world of increased traffic and sharing of resources, so this increased connectivity puts us at risk for sharing diseases as well,” Torremorell added.

Herring, who also is vice president of Hog Slat Inc., told the subcommittee that pork producers want a Farm Bill that supports the U.S. pork industry rather than hinders its ability to continue producing safe, lean and nutritious pork for the global marketplace. In addition to an FMD vaccine bank, he said the next Farm Bill should include policies for disease surveillance, research and trade promotion, which would help pork producers.