The U.S. House Committee on Agriculture this week released its 2018 Farm Bill language.
The agriculture panel’s Farm Bill calls for first-year mandatory funding of $150 million for a Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccine bank, $70 million in block grants to the states for disease prevention and $30 million for the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN), which provides diagnostic support to assist in managing diseases in the United States.
For the other years of the 5-year Farm Bill, there’s $30 million in mandatory funding for state block grants and $20 million to be used at the Agriculture secretary’s discretion for the vaccine bank, the NAHLN and the states. NPPC is urging lawmakers to provide annual funding of $150 million for the vaccine bank, $70 million for state block grants and $30 million for the NAHLN over the life of the Farm Bill.
In an NPPC press release, President Jim Heimerl said, “Including FMD language in the House Farm Bill is a huge first step in addressing this gap in our disease prevention preparedness. We are very grateful to the House Agriculture Committee for its efforts on this very important issue for livestock agriculture.”
According to Iowa State University economists, an FMD outbreak in the United States, which would prompt countries to close their markets to U.S. meat exports – thus creating a surplus of meat on the domestic market – would cost the beef and pork industries a combined $128 billion over 10 years if livestock producers weren’t able to combat the disease through vaccination.