Washington Insider -- Friday

African Swine Fever Closer to Home

Here's a quick monitor of Washington farm and trade policy issues from DTN's well-placed observer.

US List of Facilities Eligible to Export to China Expands

USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service has released an updated list of slaughter, processing or cold storage establishments that are eligible to export product to China.

Under the Phase One agreement with China, FSIS certifies establishments to the General Administration of China Customs (GACC) and those facilities must be listed on the GACC website before slaughtering and processing products for export to China.

A notification on the GACC site said that six U.S. facilities were added to the list of those eligible.

Information from FSIS indicates that on July 26 and 27, a total of eight facilities were added to the approved list for beef, seven were added for pork, and six were added for poultry. There have been 37 poultry plants added in 2021, bringing the total to 529; 31 have been added in 2021 for pork for a total of 508; and 34 added this year for beef bringing the total to 547.


Jacobs-Young Nominated as USDA Undersecretary.

President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced his intention to nominate Chavonda Jacobs-Young as USDA undersecretary for research, education and economics.

Jacobs-Young is administrator of the USDA Agricultural Research Service and serves as acting undersecretary for research, education and economics and acting USDA chief scientist.

She would be the first woman and person of color to lead this division of USDA, which manages an annual budget of $1.82 billion, the White House said.

The role of USDA undersecretary for trade and foreign agriculture is still open along with the chief ag negotiator spot at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.


Washington Insider: African Swine Fever Closer to Home

Europe and Asia are the areas in the world where African swine fever (ASF) has been the most prevalent. But USDA has now confirmed that ASF has been found in the Dominican Republic.

USDA's Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory confirmed ASF in samples from pigs in the Dominican Republic via a cooperative surveillance program, USDA announced. Dominican Republic officials said that testing of 389 samples from farm-raised and backyard pigs was conducted, and ASF was found in a "small population of backyard pigs from Sanchez Ramirez and Montecristi provinces."

According to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), pork and pork products are already banned from entering the U.S. due to restrictions linked to classical swine fever, and the Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is "increasing inspections of flights from the Dominican Republic to ensure travelers do not bring prohibited products" into the U.S.

APHIS also said that CBP will also be "ensuring that garbage from these airplanes are properly disposed of to prevent the transmission of ASF."

USDA said it has offered additional testing support and will consult with the country on any additional steps of actions to "support response and mitigation measures." USDA has offered similar help to Haiti that shares a border with the Dominican Republic and has a "high risk" for ASF.

The Dominican Republic said they were halting pig movements in two provinces and are mobilizing the military as they seek to contain ASF. The two provinces where the finds were will be quarantined, the government said.

There are about 1.8 million hogs in the Dominican Republic, with 15,000 in the Sanchez Ramirez province and another 4,600 in the Montecristi province.

This is not the country's first find of ASF as the World Animal Health Organization (OIE) said that a 1978 outbreak resulted in the country killing its entire hog herd.

Mexico has also acted as a result of the situation, announcing they will work with pork producers in the country to make sure that sanitary measures are up to snuff and that there is "epidemiological surveillance" due to the find.

Actions including reinforcing animal inspections at all ports, airports and border crossings, the country's Ag Ministry said, and kitchen and waste on commercial ships, cruise ships and airplanes will be returned to its origin country or the ministry ensures it is properly destroyed.

The U.S. stepped up its efforts when ASF appeared in Asia. USDA is working closely with other federal and state agencies, the swine industry, and producers to take the necessary actions to protect our nation's pigs and keep this disease out.

So we will see. One has to believe that if the U.S. avoided getting this in 1978 when it previously struck the Dominican Republic, ideally new and updates surveillance efforts should keep the U.S. even more protected. But this remains a very important situation to watch, Washington Insider believes.

Want to keep up with events in Washington and elsewhere throughout the day? See DTN Top Stories, our frequently updated summary of news developments of interest to producers. You can find DTN Top Stories in DTN Ag News, which is on the Main Menu on classic DTN products and on the News and Analysis Menu of DTN's Professional and Producer products. DTN Top Stories is also on the home page and news home page of online.dtn.com. Subscribers of MyDTN.com should check out the US Ag Policy, US Farm Bill and DTN Ag News sections on their News Homepage.

If you have questions for DTN Washington Insider, please email edit@dtn.com