(NAFB) — The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has approved a bill to protect the nation’s food supply. The committee unanimously approved The Protecting America’s Food & Agriculture Act of 2019, introduced by Senate Agriculture Committee leaders Pat Roberts and Debbie Stabenow.
The bill would authorize U.S. Customs and Border Protection to hire additional inspectors to fully staff U.S. airports, seaports and land ports of entry. Stabenow called agricultural inspectors the “first line of defense against threats” to agriculture.
The Department of Agriculture and Border Patrol work together to facilitate the safe and secure entry of agricultural goods into the country. Agricultural specialists and canine units conduct inspections to detect products and prevent the entry of disease, including African swine fever, to the United States.
The bill authorizes the annual hiring of 240 agricultural specialists a year until the workforce shortage is filled. The legislation has received support from a broad coalition including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the American Farm Bureau Federation.
Source: National Association of Farm Broadcasters