Pork Producers Give Insight on Battling Deadly Virus

The pork industry is still bouncing back from PEDv while avian bird flu spreads

By Claire Powell | cpowell@weareiowa.com

Published 06/03 2015 05:57PM

Updated 06/03 2015 06:11PM

The pork industry knows all about battling a deadly virus.

May of 2013 was the first deadly diagnosis of PEDv, or Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus. In 2014, millions of hogs were killed and biosecurity became the main focus in battling the virus.

At last years World Pork Expo, producers focus was mainly on the virus and who would be affected next and how they would stop the spread. Now in 2015, producers have a much different outlook.

"What a difference a year can make. Last year we were at the height in the industry and an all time high. That’s when the USDA announced surveillance plan at world pork expo a year ago," said John Weber, an Iowa hog producer.

Weber raises 6,000 hogs near Dysart and experienced the virus first hand.

"We had a couple breaks with PEDv. They weren’t real serious but we certainly do everything we can. We have clean trucks and minimize traffic to keep the disease out,” said Weber.

Biosecurity even played a key role for small scale hog producer Jamie Schmidt of Garner.

"We brought in animals only once every six months so we didn’t introduce it. We were being careful on selling and making sure trucks were clean and disinfected,” said Schmidt.

Weber says the industry learned how to deal with the virus and watched as the markets retracted. Now, he’s watching the domestic and export demands increase. However, two years later, the market is still rebounding.  

"The prices are down some but our input costs are down. Our grain and soybean prices are down. We're making some money, but as long as you can stay healthy. Health is the big key in all of this,” said Schmidt.

The 2015 World Pork Expo is expecting more than 20,000 people and producers with hundreds of tents and ongoing exhibits. Schimdt said this year he expects a much happier crowd, because there will be many more happy producers.

"The price being down a bit everyone’s attitude is better,” said Schmidt.

"You’re subject to mother nature. Whether it’s weather or disease, you have to learn how to best manage around those situations,” said Weber.

The 2015 World Pork Expo continues through Friday, June 5th. Ticket prices and information can be found at https://www.worldpork.org/


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