USDA’s announcement that it will be pursuing a Foreign Animal Disease protection zone in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands is another important step in keeping African swine fever (ASF) out of the U.S. and territories after the recent identification of cases in the Dominican Republic.

Prevention efforts are already in place in Puerto Rico, but formal designation from the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) allows USDA to seek zone recognition from trading partners prior to an outbreak, so the U.S. may continue to export pork if ASF is detected in Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands. As part of the zoning process, USDA will also work to increase awareness and continue surveillance in Puerto Rico.

USDA has been working with officials in the Dominican Republic to control ASF there as well. Combined with today’s announcement and the on-farm disease prevention efforts of producers here in the U.S., these strong controls are helping protect the commercial swine herd from the disease.

Remember, pork producers can help protect their own operations and continuity of business for the pork industry by remaining vigilant, strengthening on-farm biosecurity and participating in their state’s Secure Pork Supply efforts.

Follow the National Pork Board for news, disease identification tools, biosecurity tips and information on how to create an AgView account. NPB is making Checkoff-funded resources available in Spanish for USDA to leverage in its outreach in Puerto Rico.

The National Pork Board has responsibility for Pork Checkoff-funded research, promotion and consumer information projects and for communicating with pork producers and the public. The Pork Checkoff funds national and state programs in consumer education and marketing, retail and foodservice marketing, export market promotion, production improvement, science and technology, swine health, pork safety, and environmental management and sustainability. For the past half century, the U.S. pork industry has delivered on its commitment to sustainable production and has made significant strides in reducing the environmental impact of pig farming. Through a legislative national Pork Checkoff, pork producers invest $0.40 for each $100 value of hogs sold. Importers of pork products contribute a like amount, based on a formula. For information on Checkoff-funded programs, pork producers can call the Pork Checkoff Service Center at (800) 456-7675 or visit porkcheckoff.org.