Rushville Republican

Agriculture

August 15, 2012

Producers want the "swine" out of swine flu

RUSHVILLE — What's in a name? Everything if you're a pork producer and the name of the newest health scare makes people think twice about eating bacon.

The fast rise in the number of people diagnosed with the so-called "swine flu" over the last week has sent pork futures tumbling and re-awakened bad memories of the 2009 flu scare bearing the same name.

Health officials have gone to great lengths to call the new bug by a more official name, the variant influenza A (H3N2v), and to tell people it's safe to eat pork.

But the people who make their living raising and selling hogs fear its the other label that will stick, pointing to headlines that read: "Swine flu cases surge."

"It's amazing the impact of a name," said Mike Platt, executive director of the Indiana Pork Producers Association. "It's all about labeling and perception."

Indiana is the epicenter of what appears to be a new flu strain that's been dubbed the "swine flu" for a reason. It has the largest number of confirmed human cases in the U.S as of Thursday, at 120; and state health officials said all of those people infected with the bug got it from handling sick pigs.

The very first human case of a variant influenza A (H3N2v) was detected in Indiana in July 2011 Ñ found in a child who routinely handled pigs.

The Centers for Disease Control calls the variant influenza A (H3N2v) a "swine virus," meaning its yet to be detected as being passed from human to human, though it could be soon. The CDC also said this new flu strand carries genetic similarities to the first "swine flu" Ñ the H1N1 virus that sickened hundreds of thousands globally in 2009 and plunged the U.S. pork industry into a financial crisis when people stopped eating pork.

There is some bitter irony for pork producers this summer: The early detection of this new flu strand, and the loud alarm bells rung by health officials in response, stems in large part from the ramped efforts to test pigs for new flu virus strains after the H1N1 pandemic.

Now, as back then, health officials are saying there's absolutely no reason to stop eating pork or visiting pigs. But now, as back then, the message may not be getting through.

Unlike most crop farmers that have crop insurance that covers their losses, most hog farmers are without.

Indiana's pork industry, which employs about 13,000 people, took a massive financial hit in 2009 when people stopped eating pork. State agricultural officials estimated pork producers suffered a $50 million loss.

Text Only
Agriculture
  • USDA reminds farmers of 2014 Farm Bill Conservation Compliance changes WASHINGTON - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today reminded producers that changes mandated through the 2014 Farm Bill require them to have on file a Highly Erodible Land Conservation and Wetland Conservation Certification (AD-1026). The Farm Bill

    July 25, 2014

  • Extension farm tour to feature organic vegetable production WEST LAFAYETTE - The organic vegetable production and fertility management practices at an Ohio farm will be showcased in a Purdue Extension tour of the operation near Cincinnati.The tour will be from 9 a.m. to noon Aug. 5 at EcOhio Farm, 2210 S. Mas

    July 18, 2014

  • ag-rv071814-soybean variety pic Gene discovery could lead to better soybean varieties for northern United States WEST LAFAYETTE – Researchers from Purdue University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have discovered a soybean gene whose mutation affects plant stem growth, a finding that could lead to the development of improved soybean cultivars for the nor

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • U.S. farmers plant record soybean crop, less corn DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The nation’s farmers planted the largest soybean crop on record this year by devoting millions of acres of land to the crop that had been used for growing corn, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Monday.Farmers planted 84

    July 3, 2014

  • Manure Management Field Day presents new technology NORTH MANCHESTER — The Wabash County Soil & Water Conservation District and the Conservation Cropping Systems Initiative will host a free Manure Management Field Day on July 29th at Brubaker Farms. The half-day program will address application techno

    July 3, 2014

  • Purdue, OSU assisting in ag meeting for Corn Belt farmers WEST LAFAYETTE — Purdue and Ohio State Universities are part of an organization that is sponsoring a meeting this summer to help Corn Belt farmers make their agricultural systems more resilient and sustainable.The Resilient Agriculture Conference Au

    June 27, 2014

  • Farm Credit supports Rushville City FD training efforts RUSHVILLE — Farm Credit Mid-America, an agricultural lending cooperative serving farmers, rural residents and agribusinesses throughout Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee, contributed $500 to the Rushville City Fire Department. The funds were used

    June 27, 2014

  • ag-rv062714-problem weeds pic Latest weed control advances in corn, cotton COLLEGE STATION — The latest strategies in managing problem weeds in corn and cotton were recently showcased at the 2014 Crop Tour at the Texas A&M University field laboratory near College Station that serves as a research and teaching platform for T

    June 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Farm Credit salutes Rushville FFA graduating seniors RUSHVILLE — Farm Credit Mid-America, an agricultural lending cooperative serving farmers, rural residents and agribusinesses throughout Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee, contributed $500 to support the 2014 Rushville FFA banquet, themed “Legacy

    June 27, 2014

  • Purdue fruit, vegetable food safety course now offered online WEST LAFAYETTE - Purdue Extension is now offering in an online format a course covering food safety practices for fruit and vegetable growers.The course is based on a series of Good Agricultural Practices from A to Z workshops that were given in the

    June 20, 2014