On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives approved an additional $19.6 million in funding for more agricultural inspectors at land, air and sea ports to prevent African swine fever and other foreign animal diseases from entering the United States. This funding, included in the fiscal year 2020 Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill, is a top priority for the National Pork Producers Council.
"For more than a year, NPPC has advocated for an increase in the number of agricultural inspectors at our borders," says NPPC President David Herring, a pork producer from Lillington, N.C. "We applaud the House, especially Reps. Vela, Thompson, Peterson, Axne, Carbajal, Gonzalez, Costa, Rouzer and Fortenberry, for approving an essential provision to reduce the risk of ASF and other FADs and to protect the rural economy from a devastating outbreak. We also thank the USDA and Customs and Border Protection for all they have done to strengthen U.S. biosecurity."
The most likely path for a FAD to enter the country would be through the importation of infected animals or contaminated products. An outbreak of certain FADs would immediately close U.S. pork export markets, with significant harm to U.S. farmers, consumers and the overall economy.
NPPC continues to advocate for other FAD preparedness measures, including establishing a U.S. Foot-and-Mouth Disease vaccine bank as provided for in the 2018 Farm Bill. The United States does not currently have access to enough vaccine to quickly contain and eradicate an FMD outbreak.