Weekly Overview: Government Support for Agriculture; Updates on ASF and PED

GLOBAL - Highlights of events from the UK and the US are included in this review, writes Jackie Linden, as well as updates on African Swine Fever and Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea. European vets have repeated their call for the continued ban on swill feeding of pigs, while suppliers of blood products in North America have reassured farmers and feed millers that spray-dried porcine plasma is a safe feed ingredient for pigs.
calendar icon 3 March 2014
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Retiring National Farmers Union of England & Wales president, Peter Kendall, has said that UK farming needs a long-term strategic plan and that the government should view agriculture as key in a broad spectrum of policies beyond just farming and food production.

He was speaking at the annual NFU conference held last week in Birmingham, from where Chris Harris reported for ThePigSite.

Mr Kendall added that immigration regulations including seasonal workers, how imports are monitors for disease, how research councils target research and development funds, planning policy and the Treasury’s approach to taxation all affect on the agricultural sector.

Also at the conference, farming minister George Eustice outlined the details of a £10-million Farming Recovery Fund to offer farmers support with uninsured losses and to help them get back into production after recent severe flooding.

New Zealand High Commissioner, Sir Lockwood Smith, called on the EU and New Zealand to open negotiations on a free trade agreement, explaining that his country is one of only six members of the World Trade Organization that had not opened free trade negotiations with the EU.

In the US, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack spoke to farmers and industry at the 2014 Commodity Classic about the recently passed Farm Bill and more importantly - how USDA plans to implement it.

Turning to news on pig diseases, 310 farms in the US received positive results for Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea (PED) in the most week reported (23 February). Since that report was compiled, another state - North Dakota - has reported its first PED case, bringing the total number of states affected to 26.

Four provinces in Canada have reported cases of PED in pigs: Ontario, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island and, most recently, Quebec.

On African Swine Fever, a second wild boar found dead in Poland has tested positive for the virus in the last week and another nine wild boar in two regions of western Russia have also been found dead from the disease.

In calling for everyone to be on the alert for ASF, the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe has reinforced its support for the ban on swill feeding of pigs in the EU.

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