WASHINGTON — The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) recently announced that it would continue to work on advancing animal disease preparedness and response through Farm Bill health programs.

Currently, this branch of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is seeking project proposals for the National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program (NADPRP) and the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN). APHIS will make $24.5 million in funds available for these two programs. 

The agency is also looking at subsequent purchases for the National Animal Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Bank (NAVVCB). APHIS will invest an additional $30 million in NAVVCB purchases over the next two fiscal years, including FMD vaccine and diagnostic test kits. 

“The 2018 Farm Bill provided funding for these programs as part of an overall strategy to help prevent animal pests and diseases from entering the United States and reduce the spread and impact of potential disease incursions through advance planning and preparedness,” APHIS said.

NADPRP addresses the risk of introducing and spreading of animal pests and diseases through cooperative or interagency agreements between APHIS and states, universities, livestock producer organizations, Tribal organizations, land-grant universities and other eligible entities.

The NAHLN is a nationally coordinated network and partnership of federal, state and university-associated animal health laboratories providing animal health diagnostic testing to detect both foreign and endemic high-consequence pathogens. 

The NAVVCB allows APHIS to stockpile animal vaccines and other related products, serving as an effective insurance policy in the event of an outbreak of certain foreign animal diseases.