DICKINSON COUNTY, Kan. (KWCH) A disease that's spread throughout Asia and has killed about half of China's pig population brings concern to pork producers in the U.S., including Kansas.
Local pork producers are among many preparing for a possible outbreak of African Swine Fever as experts say the risk of the disease getting to the U.S. is increasing.
African Swine Fever hasn't reached North America, but producers are already taking action to get ahead of the virus. African Swine Fever spreads quickly and can be transferred through food pigs eat, or even from a pair of a farmer's boots.
"It could be a little speck anywhere and they could bring that in, but there shouldn't be anything here in the U.S. right now" Dickinson County pig farmer David Heines says. "...I know these big operators. They've gone through a lot of measures to make sure even birds aren't flying in. They've got everything pretty down, but it doesn't take more than one piece of organic matter fly in."
Heines says it would be devastating if the African Swine Fever spreads in the U.S. That could impact more than the pork industry.
A shortage of hogs means less corn and soy being sold to feed them. Heines says the most important thing farmers can do is increase their security, making sure nothing comes in or goes out of a closed herd.