Harrington's Sort & Cull
John Harrington DTN Livestock Analyst

Friday 04/18/14

Behind the PED Curve

Don't you just love it? Nearly a year after the initial surfacing of the worst livestock disease to hit U.S. herds in several generations, the painfully deliberate and cautious minds in Washington finally sprang into action.

If any minor leaguer who swings this far behind the curve still dreams of working in the majors, he better plan on selling beer and hotdogs.

Lamely closing the door on a horseless barn Friday, USDA announced that it would require hog producers to report incidents of both the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus and swine delta coronavirus to the government. More specifically, the department will issue a federal order that will require mandatory reporting of all herds diagnosed with PEDv and SDCv.

The herds are required to identify themselves and provide location information. Animal health laboratories receiving diagnostic samples are also required to provide positive tests and location information to USDA.

Gee, that sounds like valuable dope. Imagine how we could have used it late last fall when the real scourge of PEDv was rolling toward the market equivalent of a tsunami.

In a way, I suppose it's just another example of the slow-footed character of government, the kind of typical evidence that makes libertarians and tea-partiers drool and spit.

On the other hand, Vilsack and company stand damned if they do, damned if they don't. Remember the country rebellion that erupted several years ago when proposals for a national system of animal identification were floated? You can bet that many would have been similarly outraged (e.g., crying "Federal overreach") had USDA dared to impose a program of mandatory PEDv monitoring as early as last summer.

Still, Washington looks a little silly coming so late to this destructive party. Let's just hope that the delayed response looks increasingly feckless as the general state of swine health somehow moves significantly beyond the PEDv nightmare.

For more of John's comments, visit http://feelofthemarket.com/…

(AG)

Posted at 3:13PM CDT 04/18/14 by John Harrington
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