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Source: Office of U.S. Senator Kay Hagan news release

U.S. Senator Kay Hagan is continuing efforts to address the deadly Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) that is devastating pork producers in North Carolina and significantly impacting the agricultural economy.

Hagan led a group of six Senators in sending a letter to Senate Appropriations Committee leaders requesting funding to help develop a vaccine to stop the spread of the disease. No treatment currently exists for PEDv, which has killed millions of pigs across the United States and impacted 562 farms in North Carolina alone.

"With PEDv having a near 100% mortality rate for piglets under two weeks old, the economic costs to producers are staggering," Hagan and her colleagues wrote.

"If PEDvcontinues to spread at its current rate, many producers could struggle to remain in business. Control of and response to this and other emerging diseases is critical."

To address the outbreak, the Senators requested funding in FY2015 to provide the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) with resources to spur the development of a vaccine and initiate comprehensive monitoring and surveillance efforts. The full letter is available HERE.

"North Carolina Farm Bureau applauds Senator Hagan for calling attention to the urgent need to address PEDv," said President Larry Wooten. "We recognize the importance of the swine industry not only to the agriculture economy but the overall economy in North Carolina, and this disease has been devastating for many of our producers.

We thank Senator Hagan for her efforts to help find a cure and alleviate the spread of a disease that is jeopardizing one of the most important industries in our state."

"Farmers in North Carolina and 27 other states, to date, have suffered losses due to this virus," said Deborah Johnson, CEO of the North Carolina Pork Council. "We appreciate all Senator Hagan's efforts to focus federal resources to better understand PEDv and stem the tide of its impact on the NC hog industry."

Last month, Hagan and Senator Debbie Stabenow (MI), Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, sent a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack urging him to utilize the livestock disaster program that received mandatory funding in the 2014 Farm Bill to help producers harmed by PEDv.

PEDv poses a serious threat to the agriculture economy in North Carolina, which currently ranks second in the country in total pork production, accounting for nearly 14 percent of total U.S. pork production. In 2012, the pork industry supported more than 24,620 North Carolina jobs and contributed $1.46 billion to the state's economy.

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