Letter

Dear Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader McCarthy:

The undersigned groups request your support for swift passage of S. 2107/H.R. 4482, Protecting America’s Food & Agriculture Act of 2019, a bill authorizing funding to hire additional Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel needed to conduct Agriculture Quarantine Inspection at U.S. international ports of entry. The Senate passed S. 2107 by unanimous consent.

The U.S. agriculture sector is a crucial component of the American economy, generating over $1 trillion in annual economic activity. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, foreign pests and diseases cost the American economy tens of billions of dollars annually. CBP employees perform critically important agricultural inspections every day at the nation’s ports of entry. CBP Agricultural Specialists play a vital role in both trade and travel safety and prevent the introduction of harmful foreign animal diseases and exotic plant pests into the U.S. Diseases such as African Swine Fever, which has killed more than one out of every four pigs on the planet, would have a devastating impact on U.S. livestock producers, their communities, and the economy if introduced into the U.S.

For years, CBP has been chronically understaffed at U.S. ports of entry. The most recent results of CBP’s Agriculture Specialist Resource Allocation Model (AgRAM) shows a need for an additional 721 Agriculture Specialists. Passage of the Protecting America’s Food and Agriculture Act of 2019 would authorize CBP to hire 240 Agriculture Specialists and 200 Agriculture Technicians each year until the staffing shortage determined by AgRAM is remedied. The bill also authorizes the training and assignment each year of 20 new Agricultural Canine Teams, which have proven valuable in detecting illicit fruits, vegetables, and animal products that may have otherwise been missed in initial inspections. These specially trained dogs are already being utilized by CBP to sniff out potentially contaminated products. Finally, the bill authorizes supplemental appropriations each year to pay for the activities of agriculture specialists, technicians, and canine teams.

We ask Congress to authorize the needed CBP Agriculture Specialists, Canine Teams, and support staff at the 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. 2107/H.R. 4482.

Respectfully submitted,

Agricultural and Food Transporters Conference

Agri-Mark Dairy Cooperative

Airports Council International-North America

Alabama Cattlemen’s Association

Alabama Pork Producers

American Association of Port Authorities

American Dairy Coalition

American Farm Bureau Federation

American Feed Industry Association

American Honey Producers Association

American Kennel Club

American National CattleWomen

American Seed Trade Association

American Sheep Industry Association

American Sugar Alliance

American Trucking Associations

American Veterinary Medical Association

AmericanHort

Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association

Border Trade Alliance

California Agricultural Commissioners and Sealers Association

California Cattlemen’s Association

California Citrus Mutual

California Farm Bureau Federation

California Pork Producers Association

California Poultry Federation

Colorado Cattlemen’s Association

Colorado Livestock Association

Colorado Pork Producers Council

Corn Refiners Association

Dairy Producers of New Mexico

Dairy Producers of Utah

Exotic Wildlife Association

Florida Cattlemen’s Association

Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association

Fresh Produce Association of the Americas

Georgia Cattlemen’s Association

Georgia Poultry Federation

Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council

Hawaii Pork Producers

Idaho Pork Producers Association

Illinois Beef Association

Illinois Pork Producers Association

Indiana Beef Cattle Association

Indiana Pork Producers Association

Indiana State Poultry Association

Iowa Cattlemen’s Association

Iowa Pork Producers Association

Iowa Poultry Federation

Iowa Turkey Federation

Kansas Livestock Association

Kansas Pork Association

Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association

Kentucky Pork Producers Association

Kentucky Poultry Federation

Livestock Marketing Association

Louisiana Cattlemen’s Association

Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation

Louisiana Pork Producers Association

Louisiana Rice Producers Group

Maritime Exchange for the Delaware River and Bay

Maryland Cattlemen’s Association

Michigan Agri-Business

Michigan Cattlemen’s Association

Michigan Pork Producers Association

Minnesota Pork Producers Association

Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association

Minnesota Turkey Growers Association

Mississippi Cattlemen’s Association

Mississippi Farm Bureau

Mississippi Pork Producers Association

Mississippi Poultry Association

Missouri Cattlemen’s Association

Missouri Pork Association

Montana Agri-Women

Montana Pork Producers Council

Montana Stockgrowers Association

National Animal Interest Alliance

National Association of State Departments of Agriculture

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

National Christmas Tree Association

National Council of Farmer Cooperatives

National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America

National Grain and Feed Association

National Milk Producers Federation

National Onion Association

National Pork Producers Council

National Potato Council

National Sorghum Producers

National Treasury Employees Union

National Turkey Federation Nebraska Cattlemen

Nebraska Pork Producers Association, Inc.

Nevada Cattlemen’s Association

New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association

New Mexico Wool Growers, Inc

North American Meat Institute

North American Renderers Association

North Carolina Cattlemen’s Association

North Carolina Egg Association

North Carolina Pork Council

North Carolina Poultry Federation North Dakota Pork Council

North Dakota Stockmen’s Association

Northeast Dairy Farmers Cooperatives

Northwest Chicken Council

Ohio Cattlemen’s Association

Ohio Poultry Association

Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association

Oklahoma Pork Council

Oregon Cattlemen’s Association

Oregon Dairy Farmers Association

Oregon Pork Producers

Oregon Women for Agriculture

Pennsylvania Pork Producers Council

Pet Food Institute

Produce Marketing Association

Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania

Rural & Agriculture Council of America

Society of American Florists

South Carolina Poultry Federation

South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association

South Dakota Pork Producers Council

Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association

Tennessee Pork Producers Association

Tennessee Poultry Association

Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association

Texas Broiler Council

Texas Cattle Feeders Association

Texas Citrus Mutual

Texas Egg Council

Texas International Produce Association

Texas Pork Producers Association

Texas Poultry Federation

Texas Rice Producers Legislative Group

Texas Turkey Federation

The Poultry Federation

United Egg Producers

United Fresh Produce Association

United States Cattlemen’s Association

United States Chamber of Commerce

Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Inc.

US Rice Producers Association USA Rice Federation

Utah Cattlemen’s Association Utah Pork Producers

Virginia Cattlemen’s Association Virginia Pork Council, Inc.

Virginia Poultry Federation

Washington Cattle Feeders Association

Washington Cattlemen’s Association

Washington State Dairy Federation

Washington State Potato Commission

West Virginia Cattlemen’s Association

Western Growers Association

Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association

Wisconsin Pork Association

Date Sent:

February 7, 2020

Sender:

Agriculture Coalition Group

Recipient:

U.S. House of Representatives Leadership

Subject:

Invasive Species

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