The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has announced initial plans to carry out new animal health activities using resources provided by the 2018 farm bill. Section 12101 of the 2018 farm bill established a three-part program to comprehensively support animal disease prevention and management. The bill included funding to create two new programs: the National Animal Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Bank and the National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program. It also expands funding opportunities for the existing National Animal Health Laboratory Network.
This fall, APHIS will issue a sources sought notice to gather updated information from vaccine manufacturers interested in supplying the vaccine bank. The information will be used to develop a forward-looking vaccine acquisition strategy leading to one or more requests for proposals for foot-and-mouth disease vaccine to address a potential outbreak. For 2019, APHIS will also make available up to $10 million in funding to be divided between NADPRP and NAHLN based on the quality of proposed projects. Once fully implemented, these three programs will work together to protect and improve the health of the nation’s livestock, helping farmers and ranchers provide high-quality agricultural products to consumers here and abroad.
The new U.S.-only vaccine bank — a concept APHIS officials have long discussed with stakeholders and industry — allows USDA to stockpile animal vaccine and related products to use in the event of an outbreak of FMD or other high-impact foreign animal diseases.
The most effective strategy to protect animal health is keeping disease out of the country in the first place. To that end, the new preparedness and response program, NADPRP, allows APHIS to enter into cooperative agreements with states, universities, livestock producer organizations and other eligible entities for targeted projects aimed at preventing animal pests and diseases from entering the United States and reducing the spread and impact of potential disease incursions. In 2019, APHIS funding will build upon and enhance current disease prevention and emergency response efforts by supporting an initial round of training and exercise projects, as stakeholders have long supported this area of importance. APHIS will announce the application period and dates of webinars to assist potential applicants through the process in a future message to stakeholders. APHIS will continue to develop a more formalized annual NADPRP stakeholder consultation and annual priority-setting process to be used for implementation in 2020 and beyond.
Should foreign animal pests or disease strike, diagnosing and detecting the extent of the outbreak as rapidly as possible plays a key role in limiting the impact of the pest or disease on producers. APHIS farm bill funding for NAHLN in 2019 will support targeted projects to expand diagnostic capacity and our ability to rapidly respond to adverse animal health events. NAHLN is a nationally coordinated network and partnership of federal, state and university-associated animal health laboratories. NAHLN veterinary diagnostic laboratories provide animal health diagnostic testing to detect biological threats to the nation’s food animals, thus protecting animal health, public health and the nation’s food supply.