The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced plans to carry out new animal health activities using resources provided by the 2018 Farm Bill on Monday. The bill details a three-part program to comprehensively support animal disease prevention and management.
In addition to funding two new programs, the National Animal Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Bank (vaccine bank) and the National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program (NADPRP), it also expands funding opportunities for the existing National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN).
“Animal health and well-being is the highest priority for American pig farmers,” Dustin Baker, National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) director of economics and domestic production issues, said when the Farm Bill passed. “Surveillance of foreign animal disease is more important now than ever in an ever-globalizing world. The U.S. pork industry is working with USDA to prevent African swine fever from entering our country, which is currently spreading throughout Asia and Europe.”
National Animal Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Bank (vaccine bank)
APHIS plans to gather updated information this fall from vaccine manufacturers interested in supplying the vaccine bank. An APHIS press release says the information will be used to “develop a forward-looking vaccine acquisition strategy leading to one or more requests for proposals for foot-and-mouth disease vaccine to address a potential outbreak.”
APHIS will also make available up to $10 million to be divided between NADPRP and NAHLN based on the quality of proposed projects in 2019. Once fully implemented, these programs will work together to protect and improve the health of the U.S. livestock herd, assisting farmers and ranchers in their mission to provide quality agricultural products to consumers across the globe.
“For our highest consequence animal diseases, it is important to have an effective insurance policy in the extremely rare chance of an outbreak,” APHIS said. “The new U.S.-only vaccine bank—a concept APHIS officials have long discussed with stakeholders and industry—allows USDA to stockpile animal vaccine and related products to use in the event of an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease or other high-impact foreign animal diseases.”
National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program
The most effective strategy to protect animal health is to keep disease out. The new preparedness and response program, NADPRP, allows APHIS to enter into cooperative agreements with states, universities, livestock producer organizations, and other eligible entities for targeted projects aimed at preventing animal pests and diseases from entering the U.S. and reducing the spread and impact of potential disease incursions.
APHIS funding will also build upon and enhance current disease prevention and emergency response efforts by supporting an initial round of training and exercise projects.
National Animal Health Laboratory Network
Diagnosis and detection of foreign animal pests or disease strikes is critical. The 2019 funding for NAHLN will support projects aimed to expand diagnostic capacity and the ability to rapidly respond to adverse animal health events.
NAHLN, a nationally coordinated network and partnership of federal, state, and university-associated animal health laboratories, provides animal health diagnostic testing to detect biological threats to the nation’s food animals, protecting animal health, public health, and the nation's food supply.
More information is available at aphis.usda.gov/aphis/resources/farmbill.
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