Ont. hog industry backed for added biosecurity measures

Ontario hog producers can expect new public funding to help step up biosecurity at “critical points,” following the arrival of the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) in the province on at least two farms.

The provincial government on Tuesday pledged $2 million for Ontario Pork to back “industry-wide investments to improve biosecurity measures at critical points across the province, such as assembly yards and truck washing stations.”

The federal and Ontario governments said they will also set up a “special PED biosecurity program” using funding from the Growing Forward 2 (GF2) ag policy funding framework to help hog producers, hog slaughter plants, truckers, assembly facilities and renderers invest in “additional biosecurity measures” to limit PEDv’s spread.

The Ontario government said it will administer the “special intake” from GF2, which will open Feb. 3 and will accept applications from eligible parties until March 13.

More details on cost-sharing and eligibility requirements for the GF2 funding will be available on the Feb. 3 opening date, the province said.

“These funds and the creation of a dedicated biosecurity stream under Growing Forward 2 will most certainly help our sector with some of the initiatives we’ve already started to help manage this disease,” Ontario Pork chair Amy Cronin said in the province’s release Tuesday.

GF2 funding has separately been available since September for “farm, food and other agri-businesses” in Ontario to access biosecurity programming. “These existing supports will continue after the special intake concludes,” the province said.

PEDv, an “established” disease in Europe and more recently Asia, arrived in North America last spring on hog farms in the U.S. As of Jan. 18, nearly 2,400 confirmed cases have been seen in 23 U.S. states, killing an estimated one million to four million hogs.

The virus, while not a risk to human health or food safety, causes vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration in hogs — most significantly in nursing piglets, with up to 100 per cent mortality in that age group in affected farrowing barns.

Canada’s first case of PEDv, announced Thursday, was on a farrow-to-finish operation in southwestern Ontario’s Middlesex County. Mortality rates among two- to five-day-old hogs on the affected farm are near 100 per cent, provincial officials said.

A second farm, a finishing operation in the Chatham-Kent area, was confirmed Monday with the virus; the farm had no young piglets and has seen “clinical signs” of the virus but relatively few deaths. A third farm in the same area is suspected, but not yet confirmed, as having the virus. — AGCanada.com Network

Related story:
PED virus hits second SW Ont. hog farm, Jan. 27, 2014

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