In this file:
· NCBA Helps Lead Coalition to Close $630 Million Shortfall for Inspections of Agricultural Products
· NPPC Leads Coalition Warning Congress of Major Agriculture Inspection Funding Shortfall
NCBA Helps Lead Coalition to Close $630 Million Shortfall for Inspections of Agricultural Products
Source: National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA)
Jun 29, 2020
WASHINGTON (June 29, 2020) — The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) today helped lead a coalition of more than 150 agricultural organizations in urging Congressional appropriators to close an estimated $630 million funding shortfall for the Customs and Border Protection’s (CPB’s) Agriculture Quarantine Inspection (AQI) at U.S. ports of entry. The coalition stated its case in a letter to members of the U.S. House and Senate Appropriations Committees.
CPB Agriculture Specialists, Technicians, and Canine Teams inspect ag imports to prevent the entry of foreign plant and animal pests and diseases such as Food and Mouth Disease. The inspections are ordinarily funded by AQI user fees that are collected by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), but those user fees have dropped dramatically as international travel and cargo imports have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. The shortfall in funding for AQI at ports of entry through the end of fiscal year 2021 is estimated to be $630 million.
“We urge Congress to ensure that the essential work of CBP agriculture inspectors continues uninterrupted throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” the coalition’s letter said. “We depend on AQI to ensure that America’s agriculture sector remains safe from foreign animal and plant pests and diseases. It is inconceivable that Congress would risk widespread damage to U.S. agriculture and the overall economy by not funding these inspections.”
“The pandemic has already had a devastating impact on our nation’s citizens and on our economy,” said NCBA Executive Director, Government Affairs, Allison Rivera. “We need to continue to fund our CBP Ag Inspectors and give them the resources they need so that they may continue to be vigilant at our ports of entry in order to keep out foreign animal diseases and pests.
The group’s full letter and a list of signing organizations can be found here (PDF):
NPPC Leads Coalition Warning Congress of Major Agriculture Inspection Funding Shortfall
Source: National Pork Producers Council (NPPC)
Jun 29, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 29, 2020 – A coalition of more than 150 agriculture, trade and related groups led by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) sent a letter today to Congress warning of a major funding shortfall that could severely weaken agricultural inspections at our borders. The letter urged lawmakers to protect our nation's agriculture by appropriating funding to address what could be a $630 million COVID-19-related shortfall through fiscal year 2021.
In the letter, the coalition highlighted a funding shortfall for Agricultural Quarantine Inspection (AQI), which plays a critical role in protecting U.S. agriculture from plant and animal pests and diseases. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) collects the AQI user fees that pay for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture inspections. Due to the recent economic downturn and travel restrictions as a result of COVID-19, there has been a significant reduction in the collection of these user fees.
"We depend on AQI to ensure that American agriculture remains safe from foreign animal and plant pests and diseases. It is inconceivable that Congress would risk widespread damage to U.S. agriculture and the overall economy by not funding these inspections," the groups wrote.
"CBP and USDA agriculture inspectors are our first line of defense to ensure African swine fever (ASF) and other foreign animal diseases (FADs) remain outside the United States," said NPPC President Howard "AV" Roth, a hog farmer from Wauzeka, Wisconsin. "Lapsed vigilance of these inspections would have devastating consequences for U.S. pork producers and all of agriculture, the backbone of the American economy. It is vital that Congress address this significant funding shortfall, allowing U.S. pork producers to maintain a healthy U.S. swine herd."
A copy of the letter is available here (PDF):
Preventing ASF and other FADs from entering the country has been one of NPPC's top priorities. In March 2020, President Trump signed legislation that authorized funding for an additional 720 agricultural inspectors at land, air and sea ports, as well as 600 more agricultural technicians and 60 new agricultural canine teams. Additionally, NPPC continues to advocate for other FAD preparedness measures, including quickly establishing a U.S. Foot-and-Mouth Disease vaccine bank as provided for in the 2018 Farm Bill. The United States does not currently have access to enough vaccine to quickly contain and eradicate an FMD outbreak.
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NPPC is the global voice for the U.S. pork industry, protecting the livelihoods of America's 60,000 pork producers, who abide by ethical principles in caring for their animals, in protecting the environment and public health and in providing safe, wholesome, nutritious pork products to consumers worldwide. For more information, visit www.nppc.org.