The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will be moving forward with funding several farm bill initiatives. The agency recently announced that it will be awarding $10.2 million to support disease prevention and projects to expand laboratory diagnostic capabilities. The funding will also be used to support emergency response training and exercise projects. APHIS will also be continuing efforts to develop the National Animal Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Bank (NAVVCB).
“USDA has always worked best when it collaborates with states, universities, and farmers and ranchers out in the field,” USDA Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach said in a press release. “Our Farm Bill programs allow us to continue to strengthen these vital partnerships. Working together, we can further improve our ability to protect U.S. animal health and respond to animal disease events. At the same time, we will continue to ensure we have an effective insurance policy in the extremely rare chance of an outbreak of certain high consequence foreign animal diseases, like foot-and-mouth disease.”
The National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program is set to receive $5.2 million for a series of projects to bolster training and exercise priorities for animal agriculture responders. The National Animal Health Laboratory Network will also be receiving $5 million to advance laboratory capabilities in order to enhance diagnostic abilities as well as increasing biosafety and biosecurity measures.
As part of funding the various farm bill initiatives, APHIS will also be continuing efforts to further the NAVVCB with a goal of investing up to $30 million towards increasing the stockpile of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) vaccines. Plans and proposals are currently being accepted so that APHIS can establish the initial FMD vaccine contracts by the end of the second quarter of the fiscal year 2020. The increased stockpile will function as protection against any unforeseen issues created by a potential outbreak of animal diseases.