Iowa Pork Producers are urging lawmakers to continue taxpayer support of facilities and programs designed to respond to an outbreak of African swine fever here. The association’s Drew Mogler testified at a public hearing in the governor’s office this week.

“Iowa Pork is very appreciative of the communication and collaboration that’s existing between pork producers and our partners in state government as we continue to be vigilant and prepare in the unfortunate event that something like this would reach our border,” he said. African Swine Fever has killed swine herds in Asia and eastern Europe. It has wiped out about one-quarter of all the pigs in the world — but it has NOT reached the United States. Mogler says construction of the new, 75 million dollar Veterinary Diagnostic Lab at Iowa State University is a priority for Pork Producers.

“It cannot be overstated the critical role that the Vet Diagnostic Lab plays in the event of a foreign animal disease outbreak in the not only in the state of Iowa, but really the Midwest and the entire country,” Mogler said.

In addition, the Pork Producers are calling for an increase in state funding to help the Iowa Department of Agriculture prepare for an outbreak of disease among the state’s livestock herds. According to Mogler, one-out-of-12 jobs in the state are connected to pork production and he says 25 percent of the grain grown in Iowa is consumed by Iowa pigs. State officials estimate the entire livestock industry will generate about 13-and-a-half billion dollars in the Iowa economy this year.