During a luncheon speech at the World Pork Expo in Des Moines Thursday, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack told a crowd of pork producers and media that a Federal Order had been issued requiring hog operations with an outbreak to report it to USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and state animal health officials.

The reporting covers herds struck by porcine epidemic diarrhea  virus (PEDV) or deltacoronavirus (PDCOV). Vilsack recalled that "a year ago at this convention the outbreak of PEDV had hit a small number of herds, about 100," he says. "Now more than 4,700 herds have been impacted and there are 150 to 200 outbreaks per month."

The seriousness of the disease isn't lost on the producers attending this year's conference where a PEDV seminar filled a meeting room to over-flowing.

The new federal order, however, was a surprise in its immediacy. The reporting rule is now in effect, though Dr. John Clifford, USDA's chief veterinary officer, told media that it may take as much as four weeks for the agency to be completely up to speed.

Reporting farms will also be required to keep monitoring data as part of the order that may be used later for any epidemiological investigation underway, Clifford explained.

Vilsack notes that "the number of market-ready hogs this summer cold fall by more than 10 percent relative to 2013 because of PEDV. Together with industry and our state partners, the steps we will take through the Federal Order will strengthen the response to PEDV and these other viruses and help us lessen the impact to producers, which ultimately benefit the consumers who have seen store pork prices rise almost 10 percent in the past year."