WASHINGTON — On July 20, the Beagle Brigade Act of 2022 was introduced to permanently authorize the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Detector Dog Training Center, where detector dogs and US Customs and Border Protection handlers train to identify foreign pests and animal diseases.

The workforce of detector dogs, known as the Beagle Brigade, are trained at the National Detector Dog Training Center in Newnan, Ga., and sent to major US ports of entry, such as airports, land border crossings, and mail and cargo facilities, to sniff out any threats to US agriculture.

Congressmen Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02), Drew Ferguson (GA-03), Dan Kildee (MI-05) and Adrian Smith (NE-03) introduced H.R.8432, the Beagle Brigade Act of 2022 in the House of Representatives, while Senators Raphael Warnock (GA) and Joni Ernst (IA) introduced the companion bill in the US Senate.

“US agriculture has a trillion-dollar impact on America’s economy. The Beagle Brigade and their human handlers are working every day to keep foreign pests and diseases out of the country,” Bishop said. “By permanently establishing the National Detector Dog Training Center, we are protecting US agriculture and food supply from harm, keeping prices down at supermarkets for families and maintaining export markets for American farmers.”

Over 50 agricultural, veterinary and trade organizations support the legislation, including the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC).

“Healthy animals ensure consumers have safe food and allow American producers, their communities and the US economy to thrive,” said Terry Wolters, NPPC president and owner of Stoney Creek Farms, Pipestone, Minn. “That is why NPPC joined over 50 organizations spanning the entire agriculture sector in support of the Beagle Brigade Act of 2022. Early detection at our US borders has never been more critical. Training canine teams against threats like animal disease and identifying potentially contaminated products at our nation's ports of entry is critical to the safety of US agriculture. We urge Congress to act fast.”