Senator Hagan, Chairwoman Stabenow Applaud USDA Announcement to Combat Virus Devastating Pork Producers

Washington, DC – After requesting federal assistance to address the deadly porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv), Senator Kay Hagan (NC) and Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (MI) today applauded U.S Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack's plan to dedicate $26.2 million to combat this disease that is devastating pork producers across the country. In March, Hagan and Stabenow sent a letter to Vilsack urging the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to dedicate funding to help develop a vaccine and for other measures that provide relief to affected producers.

"North Carolina pork producers continue to suffer losses because of this devastating virus, and I am pleased that this investment from the USDA will help develop a vaccine to control and stop the spread of PEDv," said Hagan. "I will continue working to ease the economic costs of this disease on North Carolina producers, as well as consumers who have seen pork prices rise in the past year."

"I applaud USDA for addressing the spread of this deadly virus," Stabenow said. "Pork producers in Michigan and across the country have suffered major losses due to the virus. If left unaddressed, this virus could have very serious implications for consumers, the economy, and the livelihood of producers and businesses across the country. I will continue to monitor the situation closely and work with Sen. Hagan, producers and the USDA until the situation is stabilized."

The USDA's $26.2 million investment will be used for a variety of activities to support producers and combat PEDv and the porcine deltacoronavirus (PDCoV), including:

· $3.9 million to be used by USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) to support the development of vaccines
· $2.4 million to cooperative agreement funding for States to support management and control activities
· $500,000 to veterinarians to help with development and monitoring of herd management plans and sample collection
· $11.1 million in cost-share funding for producers of infected herds to support biosecurity practices.
· $2.4 million for diagnostic testing
· $1.5 million to National Animal Health Laboratory Network diagnostic laboratories for genomic sequencing for newly positive herds

The unmitigated spread of PEDv poses a serious threat to the agricultural economy as the pork industry supports nearly 550,000 jobs across the country and contributes $34.5 billion to the U.S. economy. PEDv has a reported mortality rate of nearly 100 percent for piglets under two weeks old and ultimately kills 50 to 80 percent of all newborn and suckling pigs.

In addition to their March letter to Secretary Vilsack, Hagan and Stabenow joined a group of six Senators in April in sending a letter to Senate Appropriations Committee leaders requesting funding to address the PEDv outbreak, including resources to support the development of a vaccine and initiate comprehensive monitoring and surveillance efforts. A copy of the letter is available here.

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