The U.S. pork industry’s top priority for the next Farm Bill is establishing a Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccine bank, the National Pork Producers Council told a House Agriculture subcommittee in testimony.
“If this country ever had an FMD outbreak, it not only would devastate my farm and the whole livestock industry but the entire U.S. economy,” said NPPC Vice President David Herring, a pork producer from Newtown Grove, N.C., who testified on behalf of the organization before the agriculture panel’s Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture.
To address a potential FMD outbreak, which would cost the beef, corn, pork and soy bean industries alone an estimated $200 billion over 10 years, NPPC wants the 2018 Farm Bill to direct the U.S. Department of Agriculture to:
- Contract with an offshore, vendor-maintained vaccine bank that would have available FMD antigen concentrate to protect against all 23 of the most common FMD types currently circulating in the world.
- Maintain a vendor-managed inventory of 10 million doses of vaccine, which is the estimated need for the first two weeks of an outbreak.
- Contract with an international manufacturer or manufacturers for the surge capacity to produce at least 40 million doses.
“We need the capacity to produce enough FMD vaccine to quickly control, then eradicate the disease, and we need the funds to make that happen,” Herring said.
Herring, who also is vice president of Hog Slat Inc., which makes hog farm equipment, told the subcommittee that pork producers want a Farm Bill that supports the U.S. pork industry rather than hinders its ability to continue producing safe, lean and nutritious pork for the global marketplace.
In addition to an FMD vaccine bank, he said the next Farm Bill should include policies for disease surveillance, research and trade promotion, which would help pork producers. Among policies that could hamper producers, said Herring, are the pending Farmer Fair Practices Rules and the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Rule. NPPC wants the Trump administration to withdraw both regulations.