The U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation today that authorizes funding for 740 new agricultural inspectors at land, air and sea ports to prevent African swine fever (ASF) and other foreign animal diseases (FAD) from entering the United States, according to a release from the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC). The Senate approved an identical version of the bill (S. 2017) in October 2019. Providing additional agricultural inspectors is one of NPPC’s top priorities.
"For more than a year, NPPC has advocated for more agricultural inspectors at our borders," said NPPC President David Herring, a hog farmer from Lillington, N.C., in the release. "The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection have done much to mitigate risk to animal disease, but we must remain vigilant. Today's vote represents a tremendous victory for our farmers, consumers and the American economy. We thank Congressional leadership, led by Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Texas) and Sens. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas), for their strong leadership on this issue and look forward to the bill's implementation," he added.
The legislation also authorizes 600 new agricultural technicians and 60 new agricultural canine teams.
The most likely path for a FAD to enter the country would be through the illegal transport of contaminated products, the release notes. An outbreak of certain FADs would immediately close U.S. pork export markets, causing significant damage to farmers and consumers.
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