May 15, 2023

Dear Leader Schumer, Leader McConnell, Speaker McCarthy, and Leader Jeffries:

The undersigned groups request your support for swift passage of S. 759/H.R. 1480, Beagle Brigade Act of 2023, a bill authorizing the National Detector Dog Training Center (the “Center”). The Center is the primary training facility for the so-called “Beagle Brigade,” which helps protect America’s natural resources and agriculture producers from foreign animal and plant diseases and pests.

The $1 trillion U.S. agriculture sector is a key component of the American economy and is fundamental to our national security. The introduction of foreign animal and plant pests and diseases costs the American economy tens of billions of dollars annually. The Agriculture Canine Teams of the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) perform critically important agricultural inspections at the nation’s ports of entry. These teams play a vital role in trade and travel safety, and work every day to prevent the introduction of harmful foreign animal and plant diseases and pests into the U.S. The introduction of foreign animal diseases, such as Foot and Mouth Disease, African Swine Fever, or virulent Newcastle Disease, or plant diseases, such as maize lethal necrosis or citrus greening disease, would have a devastating impact on U.S. agricultural producers, their communities, and the economy if introduced into the U.S.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) trains these dogs and their CBP handlers at the National Detector Dog Training Center in Newnan, Georgia. These specially trained teams are utilized by CBP to sniff out potentially contaminated products at U.S ports of entry, and prevent their introduction into the U.S. The Center also oversees the private adoption of retirement-age trained dogs and dogs that do not complete training. Congress has consistently supported this work, including through the passage of the Protecting America’s Food and Agriculture Act of 2019, which authorized the training of additional canine teams. The Beagle Brigade Act would provide specific authorization for this highly successful training center and lay the groundwork for its continued success in the future. It would also require a report from USDA on current and emerging threats to domestic agriculture and natural resources and improvements that could be made through the Center to minimize these threats.

We ask Congress to support the National Detector Dog Training Center and the important work done by the Agriculture Canine Teams at our international ports of entry to guard against national security threats, address public safety risks, and grow the economy. To achieve this goal, we urge you to support S. 759/H.R. 1480.

Respectfully submitted,

American Association of Swine Veterinarians
American Association of Avian Pathologists
American Association of Bovine Practitioners
American Association of Mycobacterial Diseases
American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians
American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges
American Dairy Coalition
American Dairy Science Association
American Farm Bureau Federation
American Feed Industry Association
American Horse Council
American Quarter Horse Association
American Seed Trade Association
American Sheep Industry Association
American Soybean Association
American Veterinary Medical Association
Animal Health Institute
Animal Transportation Association
Association of Ship Brokers & Agents (USA)
Association of Veterinary Biologics Companies
Border Trade Alliance
California Citrus Mutual
California Farm Bureau
Farm Credit Council
Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association
Fresh Produce Association of the Americas
International Fresh Produce Association
Maritime Exchange for the Delaware River and Bay
Mycobacterial Diseases of Animals – Multistate Initiative
National Animal Interest Alliance
National Aquaculture Association
National Association of Federal Veterinarians
National Association of Maritime Organizations
National Association of State Departments of Agriculture
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
National Cotton Council
National Council of Farmer Cooperatives
National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America
National Farmers Union
National Grain and Feed Association
National Institute for Animal Agriculture
National Milk Producers Federation
National Oilseed Processors Association
National Pork Producers Council
National Treasury Employees Union
National Turkey Federation
North America Meat Institute
North American Deer Farmers Association
North American Renderers Association
North Carolina Farm Bureau
Pet Food Institute
Texas International Produce Association
United States Animal Health Association
U.S. Cattlemen’s Association
United Egg Producers
US Dairy Forage Research Center Stakeholder Committee
Western Growers

Date Sent:

May 15, 2023


Agricultural Coalition


Beagle Brigade Act of 2023