Back in March of this year, representatives from the beef, turkey, sheep and pork industries all testified in favor of a stronger program to protect animals from disease, especially foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). This all took place in Washington, D.C. during a hearing before the House Agriculture Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee. But this past Saturday, the House Agriculture Committee held its first Farm Bill listening session in Gainesville, Florida and that topic was also presented there. Here is the executive vice president of the Florida Cattlemen’s Association, Jim Handley.
In testimony earlier this year, both the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and National Pork Producers Council testified in favor of spending $150 million on an FMD vaccine bank. Current foot-and-mouth disease funding is only at $1.9 million. Many groups say the United States is not prepared for an FMD outbreak that could “cripple the entire agriculture sector.” All of the livestock groups who have given testimony on FMD want the new program to be included in talks as Congress develops the 2018 Farm Bill. And that was exactly what took place this past Saturday during the first Farm Bill listening session held in Gainesville, Florida. More of these hearings will take place across the country, and livestock groups want to make sure the FMD vaccine back is on the House Agriculture Committee’s mind as they put together the new farm bill.
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