Federal, provincial investment | Money will be used to help producers improve biosecurity, says federal ag minister
The deadly porcine epidemic diarrhea virus has never been found in British Columbia and both government and hog producers want to keep it that way.
On May 15, the provincial and federal governments announced funds of $613,050 through the Growing Forward program for increased surveillance and preventive measures to keep the virus out.
PED has been found in Ontario, Manitoba, Quebec and Prince Edward Island since it first entered Canada this year, though Ontario has seen the bulk of infected barns.
The virus is endemic in the United States, where it is a factor at hog operations in 30 states and has killed millions of piglets.
Funding provided to the B.C. Pork Producers Association will be used to enhance biosecurity for transport trucks and truck washes, according to a B.C. government news release.
Two pork processing plants and 21 hog farms will get support to develop response and containment plans should the virus become a factor.
Auditing and application of national standards for on-farm biosecurity will also be covered. The provincial hog industry will cost share actions that require equipment purchase or infrastructure expense, according to a provincial news release.
Federal agriculture minister Gerry Ritz emphasized the importance of biosecurity in his remarks.
“Vigilance towards PED is key to reducing its impact on the Canadian agricultural sector and the economy as a whole,” he said.
“This investment will provide the B.C. Pork Producers Association with the tools and resources it needs to support producers and processors in improving biosecurity.”
B.C agriculture minister Norm Letnick referred to the province’s recently updated animal health act, which he said would improve monitoring and disease management.
Pork producer president Jack Dewit praised the government funding.
“The health of our animals is absolutely paramount to B.C. pork producers, and these surveillance and preventative measures really help reduce the chances of PED arriving and spreading in our province,” Dewit said. “Some U.S. farmers have been devastated by the outbreak of PED in their states, so B.C. producers clearly recognize the value of the on-the-ground action and response plans this funding brings to us.”