Deadly virus in pigs is threatening hog farmsFargo, ND (WDAY TV) - A deadly virus in pigs is threatening hog farms across the United States, including Minnesota and South Dakota.
By: Becky Parker, WDAY
Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - A deadly virus in pigs is threatening hog farms across the United States, including Minnesota and South Dakota. The costly precautions some farmers are taking could cause the price of bacon to rise.
More than 100 cases of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea, or the PED Virus, have popped up in several states. Some hog farmers are going to great lengths to make sure the highly contagious disease doesn't spread to their farms.
Amon Baer- Hog Producer: "In a sow farm where you have a lot of baby pigs with very little immunity in their system yet, it's about 100% lethal."
PED is a gastrointestinal virus that can sicken adult pigs, but is highly deadly to piglets. It spreads easily, usually through trucking companies that transport the pigs to market. That's why hog farmers like Amon Baer in Hawley are taking extra precautions.
Amon Baer: "We have gone to dedicated trucks hauling our own pigs. The ones that actually haul the sows to market, those trucks get washed twice before they get sent back to the farm."
He expects that will cost about $30,000 a year to keep up. Some experts predict bacon prices will rise as those extra costs trickle down. Others say it is too early to tell.
Jason Aamodt - Meats by John & Wayne: "There are a lot of hogs out there, and a lot of hog producers. We just have to wait to see how far, if any, major damage could happen before we have to change any prices."
Baer says it helps that his hog barns are in a low-density area for pigs, far away from the infected farms in Southern Minnesota.
Amon Baer: "When the truck delivers pigs to a packing plant, they have to drive five or six hours before they're back to pick up a second load and that alone gives you some biosecurity."
It is important to note that the PED virus only affects pigs. NDSU livestock specialists tell us it can't spread to humans and does not threaten the safety of pork products.