African swine fever is a very large double-stranded DNA virus causing hemorrhagic fevers, a group of illnesses caused by many viruses and found in animals or insects. Examples of hemorrhagic fevers would be things like ebola, marburg, and lassa fever. African swine fever has high mortality rates in domestic pigs, and it’s sweeping across southeast Asia and China.

It has caused the death of hundreds of millions of pigs. It is estimated China will lose around one third of their hogs in the next 12-18 months, creating a huge deficiency in the animal protein supply for these regions. It’s expected to go throughout 2020 and even hurt them years to come. This lack of protein means the U.S. will be able to export more to those countries.

As stated by a new report from CoBank Knowledge Exchange Division, animal protein sectors will benefit because of the increased exports to fill in where they are lacking. However, the demand for feed will go down, reducing our grain and feed exports. Looking at the long-term effects of this demand for feed will be slower than pre-ASF projections as they re-establish their hog herds. With the trade dispute still ongoing, there are other markets adding to the variables of whether or not U.S. agriculture is impacted by the shortage of protein in southeast Asia and China.

Schiereck is president of the El Dorado Springs FFA chapter.

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