Alta. gathers GF2 funding for PED prevention

The Alberta and federal governments have assembled $1.35 million in funding for the province’s hog sector to further build up biosecurity against diseases such as porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED).

The money, budgeted for Alberta Pork from the Growing Forward 2 (GF2) ag policy funding framework, is on top of previously-announced GF2 grants for farmers and hog sector service providers to boost biosecurity in their operations.

PED, which as of Thursday has been confirmed in hogs on 57 farms in Ontario and one each in Manitoba, Quebec and Prince Edward Island, plus hogs at two “high-traffic” off-farm sites in Manitoba, has yet to appear in swine in Alberta.

The funding announced Thursday will go toward training Alberta veterinarians to perform on-farm biosecurity audits; conducting those audits; developing an assessment system for farm service providers’ biosecurity processes; and developing “education and information materials” for hog farmers.

The added funds will also go toward updating Alberta Pork’s own risk assessment.

“The funding will help our industry respond to current disease threats as well as prepare for and help prevent future threats to the industry,” Alberta Pork chairman Frank Novak said in the governments’ release Thursday.

Alberta, which has about 380 active hog producers, today raises about 2.3 million market hogs a year.

“Biosecurity continues to be our best defence to keep disease off the farm, and we must all continue to be vigilant — from farmers to truckers and processors,” Novak said.

The PED coronavirus causes acute outbreaks of watery diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration in herds and can cause death loss of up to 100 per cent in groups of nursing-age piglets, while in groups of growing pigs, it causes widespread diarrhea but with lower mortality rates. — Network

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