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Indiana Farmers Taking More Care To Prevent Virus In Pigs

Stephen & Claire Farnsworth

Indiana hog farmers are taking precautions against another round of a virus that wiped out 5-percent of the nation‘s pigs last winter.

Cases of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus have declined with warmer weather, but the State Fair still screened all hogs for symptoms last week.

Sarah Ford with the Indiana Pork Producers says more farmers have been inoculating their herds against the virus, and paying extra attention to washing out their trucks.

She says the National Pork Board is investing millions in trying to pin down just how best to combat the virus.

"Some of the challenges with PEDV is determining exactly how the virus spreads," Ford says. "So the National Pork Board, particularly, has put millions of dollars of research into this. You know, how far can the virus spread in the air, what is the primary way it's being spread, and there are still a lot of questions out there."

Young pigs are susceptible to the virus.

Agronomists estimate it killed 2-percent of Indiana‘s piglets over the winter, with many hog-producing states hit even harder.   

The virus isn‘t dangerous to humans, but the reduction in supply has driven pork prices higher.

Ford says farmers should have one advantage this winter: this time, they won‘t be caught by surprise.