Hardy, a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) trained detector dog, sniffed out a roasted pig head in traveler baggage at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International airport in 2018 as part of security efforts to keep ASF out of the U.S.

New spending bill includes extension of livestock price reporting law

As the result of an extensive lobbying initiative from agricultural organizations,  the Senate and House passed an omnibus budget bill to keep the government operating through fiscal 2022. A long list of National Pork Producers Council priorities were funded in the $1.5 trillion spending measure. Among the most important USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) programs funded, all at levels up from fiscal 2021, were ones for:

• Swine health — $25.4 million.

• Veterinary diagnostics — $61.4 million. 

• Zoonotic disease management — $20.3 million.

• Emergency preparedness and response — $42 million.

Importantly, the bill included $250 million for APHIS’s Agricultural Quarantine Inspection program to offset the loss of user fees from international passengers and planes, ship and other vehicles bringing cargo into the United States. Those funds are for U.S. Customs and Border Protection agricultural inspectors who conduct searches at U.S. ports of entry. Additional priorities were funded in the catch-all spending measure such authorization for the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act through the end of the fiscal year and the bill includes provisions continuing a delay on the Electronic Logging Device requirement for livestock truckers and one preventing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from requiring farms to report greenhouse gas emissions. A provision that would have prohibited the use of faster harvesting line speeds at packing plants was kept out of the bill.

In addition, Sens. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and Joni Ernst (R-IA), both of whom are members of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, introduced legislation, S.3678, the “Beagle Brigade Act of 2022,” to authorize USDA’s National Detector Dog Training Center, which trains beagles and other dogs to detect food, plants and other host material that can carry foreign pests and diseases. Known as the Beagle Brigade, the dogs are trained to spot contraband fruits, vegetables and meat products in international passenger baggage, mailed packages and vehicles entering the United States. The bill formally provides congressional authorization and funds for the Newnan, GA, training center, which had been operating under USDA’s general authority over animal and plant health, with funding through user fees. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which uses the dogs at ports of entry, on a typical day seizes more than 4,600 plants, meat and animal byproducts that must be quarantined and, in most cases, destroyed. Still, foreign diseases and pests carried into the United States cost the country $138 billion annually in economic and environmental losses, according to USDA.

Check Also

Watch for early wheat diseases

By Pierce Paul, Ohio State University Extension plant pathologist The wheat crop in Ohio is now …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.