WASHINGTON — Early backing was announced on May 18 for the proposed Foreign Animal Disease Prevention, Surveillance, and Rapid Response Act of 2023.

Bipartisan bills were introduced in the House of Representatives and the Senate regarding the need to continue investments in foreign animal disease response programs overseen by the US Department of Agriculture.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) provided early support once the initial legislation was announced this week.

“The threat of a foreign animal disease outbreak in the United States represents an existential threat to every cattle producer,” said Todd Wilkinson, president of the NCBA. “It would also threaten this nation’s food and national security. We must act now to ensure we are prepared to combat a potential crisis before it happens. As a cattle producer, it is reassuring to see bipartisan support for legislation like the Foreign Animal Disease Prevention, Surveillance, and Rapid Response Act, which will help our industry prepare for and ultimately prevent a national crisis.”

NPPC stated how important these programs are to prevent African swine fever and other diseases from entering the United States.

“With threats of African swine fever and other foreign animal diseases to livestock and poultry industries, having these provisions in the farm bill will ensure the US remains positioned to deliver safe and affordable food to consumers worldwide,” said Scott Hays, president of the NPPC.

The legislation would provide additional funding for three animal health programs that started under the 2018 Farm Bill, including the National Animal Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Bank (NAVVCB), the National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program (NADPRP) and the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN).

“Together, the vaccine bank, NADPRP and laboratory network form a ‘three-legged stool’ that represents our strategy for protecting the cattle and beef industry from a foreign animal disease outbreak,” said Tom Portillo, chairman of NCBA’s Cattle Health and Well Being Committee. “To protect the cattle industry, Congress must provide adequate funding for each of these three important programs.” 

The NADPRP supports programs like the Secure Beef Supply from the NCBA, which develops continuity of business resources to help farms, ranches, processors and retailers safely operate in the event of a foreign disease operation.