When Charlie Hall sells pigs, customers never set foot on his Unionville-area farm. “We actually meet them half a mile away and transfer the pigs directly from one trailer to another,” Hall said.
The threat of a growing pig disease has local farmers embracing biosecurity measures to protect their farms and livelihoods.
Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, or PEDv, is pushing up pork prices and prompting action on the national level.
Locally, PEDv will bring changes to protocols for the Centre County Grange Encampment and Fair in August and has farmers closing their barns to visitors. “It has really played havoc with the producers of pork,” said Hall, who has 500 pigs on his farm along Rattlesnake Pike.
Bob Cloninger, a veterinarian with Centre Herd Health Services in Centre Hall, works with area farmers and counsels the Grange Fair on its livestock shows.
“It’s a devastating thing for our industry,” Cloninger said of PEDv. “The amount of baby pigs that has been killed across the country is incredible.”