The Farm Bill legislation, which will be used to fund efforts for animal disease prevention, is expected to be signed by US President Donald Trump in the next few days.
The five-year agricultural blueprint includes US$120 million for the first four years for animal health and disease preparedness, requiring at least $5 million a year for the National Animal Disease Preparedness Program.
Money can be allocated for a foreign animal disease vaccine bank; for the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN), which provides disease surveillance and diagnostic support; and, through block grants, for state efforts to prepare for any foreign animal disease outbreak.
Here’s how the industry responded to the Farm Bill approval.
National Pork Producers Council president Jim Heimerl said: “Obviously, the Farm Bill is extremely important to American agriculture. The 2018 Bill is particularly good for livestock agriculture because it includes funds that will help protect our animals, our food supply and our economy from foreign animal diseases.”
US Department of Agriculture secretary Sonny Perdue believed the move provided a “strong safety net” for farmers and ranchers.
“This Farm Bill will help producers make decisions about the future, while also investing in important agricultural research and supporting trade programs to bolster exports,” said Perdue.
“While I feel there were missed opportunities in forest management and in improving work requirements for certain recipients, this Bill does include several helpful provisions and we will continue to build upon these through our authorities.”
Meanwhile, National Cattlemen’s Association president Kevin Kester believed the Farm Bill delivered “certainty” for farmers.
“America’s cattlemen and women want common sense and certainty from Congress this holiday season and throughout the year – today they received that through the passage of the Farm Bill,” said Kester. “Certainty that a foot-and-mouth disease vaccine bank will be authorised and funded. Certainty that important conservation programs will be reauthorised and funded. And certainty that trade promotion and access to foreign markets will remain a priority in the years to come.”