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Fear of New Disease Outbreaks in Pigs Linger after China Floods

Reuters writer Emily Chow reported this week that, “[Chinese producer Cheng’s] farm is one of thousands in Henan, famous for agriculture, and pork production in particular. The province was struck by heavy rains last week that sparked the worst flash flooding in centuries, catching many by surprise.”

The Reuters article explained that, “Livelihoods aside, the flooding also has many worried about fresh disease outbreaks.

“Last summer, heavy rain and flooding across southern China was blamed for dozens of outbreaks of African swine fever, a disease that usually kills pigs though is not harmful to people.

‘The disease issue is a much more severe issue than the direct losses,’ said Pan Chenjun, senior analyst at Rabobank.

The Reuters article added that, “‘Whatever’s in the manure pits will be washed out and spread around,’ said Wayne Johnson, a veterinarian and consultant at Beijing-based Enable Ag-Tech Consulting.”

REUTERS NEWS PHOTO: “Pig farmer Cheng, 47, wades through floodwaters past pig carcasses next to a farmland following heavy rainfall in Wangfan village of Xinxiang, Henan province, China July 25, 2021. Picture taken July 25, 2021. REUTERS/Aly Song.”

Also this week, Reuters News reported that, “China’s animal husbandry association urged companies on Tuesday to donate large volumes of disinfectants for a county in the central province of Henan, where widespread floods have killed thousands of livestock.

The rotting carcasses of dead animals easily produce pathogens, but disinfection material is insufficient, the semi-official China Animal Agriculture Association said on its website, after the farms in Tangyin county were flooded.”

The Reuters article pointed out that, “Last week’s heavy rains sparked the province’s worst flash floods in centuries, killing at least 71 people. More than a million animals died and 1,678 large livestock farms were affected, official media said.

“‘Large quantities of disinfectants are needed,’ said a manager with a pig producer that has farms in Henan.

The industry’s biggest concern was the potential for disease to spread, said the manager, who declined to be identified as he was not authorised to talk to the media.

Meanwhile, Dow Jones writer Kirk Maltais reported on Monday that, “Corn export inspections remain largely supported by inspections of exports destined for China, according to USDA data.

“In the USDA’s weekly report, corn export inspections totaled 1.04 million metric tons for the week ended July 22. Of that, inspections of corn destined for China totaled 489,820 tons.

China was also a destination for U.S. wheat, with inspections of wheat destined for China totaling 67,634 tons for the week. In total, wheat inspections totaled 477,964 tons.”

More broadly regarding U.S., China trade issues, Wall Street Journal writer Chao Deng reported on Monday that, “Senior U.S. and Chinese officials sparred over Covid-19, human rights and cybersecurity during a tense exchange Monday in the highest-level meetings between the two countries on Chinese soil since Joe Biden became president.

“Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng, meeting with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman in the port city of Tianjin on Monday, said American perceptions of China as an ‘imagined enemy’ were responsible for a stalemate in relations between the two powers.

“Ms. Sherman, who arrived in Tianjin on Sunday and also met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, laid out the reasoning behind recent tough White House action on China, according to U.S. administration officials. The purpose of the visit was to provide ‘guardrails’ for the U.S.-China relationship to ensure it doesn’t spill over into conflict, they said.”

The Journal article noted that, “The relationship between Beijing and the Biden administration got off to a fiery start when senior U.S. and Chinese foreign policy officials first met in Anchorage, Alaska in March, with State Councilor Yang Jiechi saying the U.S. had no right to lecture China.

Monday’s meeting was in many ways a repeat of that first encounter, with Mr. Xie saying U.S. talk of cooperation masks its ultimate aim, which is to contain and suppress China.”

And Bloomberg News reported on Monday that, “The U.S. and China left open the possibility of a summit between their presidents, despite a contentious day of talks in which Beijing outlined a series of demands that Americans showed little willingness to meet.”

The Bloomberg article added that, “The talks in Tianjin — about 60 miles (100 kilometers) east of Beijing — could be the first step toward a meeting between President Joe Biden and China’s Xi Jinping, possibly at a Group of 20 summit in October. ‘The president continues to believe in face-to-face diplomacy’ and expects that will happen ‘at some point,‘ White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters when asked whether the differences aired in Tianjin would prevent a Biden-Xi summit.”

Keith Good Photo

Keith Good is the Farm Policy News editor for the farmdoc project. He has previously worked for the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, and compiled the daily News Summary from 2003-2015. He is a graduate of Purdue University (M.S.- Agricultural Economics), and Southern Illinois University School of Law.

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