Today, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) joined major animal agriculture and veterinary medicine organizations in calling on Congress to include a new Animal Pest and Disease Disaster Prevention Program in the 2018 Farm Bill. This new program would provide a forward-looking approach to animal disease response and bolster the critical network of animal health laboratories across the country.
Dr. Michael G. Strain, NASDA President and Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry, called for support of the program by stressing the need to provide tools for disease prevention, rapid response, and facilitate long-term competitiveness for American livestock and poultry producers.
“As a large animal veterinarian, I have seen first-hand the crippling effects animal disease outbreaks have on U.S. poultry and livestock producers and our rural economies. This program will help state animal health officials and producers better identify and mitigate outbreaks. Importantly, it will also help prevent the catastrophic impact outbreaks such as HPAI, PEDv, and other animal health threats have on our nation’s food security, trade partnerships, and economic stability.”
In recent testimony NASDA CEO Dr. Barbara P. Glenn highlighted the proposed Animal Disease and Disaster Prevention Program which will facilitate a “boots on the ground” prevention effort administered by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). The program will deliver early detection and rapid response activities necessary to protect the nation’s animal agriculture industry. In addition, the program will build upon the 2014 Farm Bill’s authorization of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) and make available additional federal resources to states, industry, and universities to reduce disease impact, support research needs, and develop disease prevention and mitigation resources such as vaccines.
NASDA represents the elected and appointed commissioners, secretaries, and directors of the departments of agriculture in all fifty states and four U.S. territories. NASDA grows and enhances agriculture by forging partnerships and creating consensus to achieve sound policy outcomes between state departments of agriculture, the federal government, and stakeholders.