Minnesota pork producers have had to adjust after a deadly porcine epidemic diarrhea virus killed seven million piglets. To ward off the disease, farmers have boosted the animals’ diets, resulting in hogs that weigh about 215 pounds.
Farms stricken with a deadly pig virus must report outbreaks as part of a new program to help monitor and possibly control the spread of the disease, the federal government announced Friday. Porcine epidemic diarrhea has killed millions of pigs in 27 states since showing up in the U.S. last May, with Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and North Carolina being hit hardest. The disease has been blamed for recent increases in bacon and pork prices. Farmers have struggled to control the virus, because little is known about how it spreads and there is not yet a federally approved vaccine.
An illness that only affects pigs is making its way across the Midwest, including here in Minnesota. The Porcine Epidemic Virus (P.E.D.) killed more than 7,000 pigs at a facility near Good Thunder last December. Pork producers say newborn piglets are most susceptible, and it’s always fatal. The virus’ devastation cost the facility about $500,000.