The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing more than $16.3 million to help protect animal health. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is awarding funding to states, universities, and other partners to support 64 different projects. It marks the third year that APHIS is providing project support with funding made possible through the 2018 Farm Bill. The goal is to help strengthen programs that bolster animal health in agricultural production.
“These funding awards will help ensure the ongoing health of our nation’s livestock and poultry,” said Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, Jenny Lester Moffitt said in a press release. “Safeguarding U.S. animal health helps us expand export opportunities for rural America to more and better markets, while providing consistent access to safe, healthy, and affordable food for U.S. consumers. The preparedness and response activities we are funding today will help us address the animal disease issues of tomorrow and arm us with the best science available to retain international markets and feed our families and the world. I look forward to seeing the progress USDA and its partners make with these funds.”
A critical priority for the funding program is to help protect U.S. agriculture from animal pests and diseases. Other important areas for funding support include projects with the goal of bolstering vaccine distribution plans and enhancing outreach efforts to educate industry members on animal disease prevention. Funded projects are also aimed at supporting more informed animal movement decisions in high-consequence animal disease outbreaks. Other projects include efforts to develop point-of-care diagnostic tests that can rapidly detect foreign animal diseases.
APHIS is awarding $7.6 million through the National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program and $4.4 million through the National Animal Health Laboratory Network. Additionally, APHIS is awarding $4.3 million for seven projects that will be jointly administered through both programs.