APHIS announces plans to create new programs from farm bill

The Agriculture’s Department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) on Monday announced initial plans to carry out new animal health activities using resources provided by the 2018 farm bill.

Section 12101 of the bill established a three-part program to comprehensively support animal disease prevention and management, APHIS noted.

The bill included funding to create 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).

This fall, APHIS will issue a sources-sought notice to gather updated information from vaccine manufacturers interested in supplying the vaccine bank. For 2019, APHIS will also make available up to $10 million in funding to be divided between NADPRP and NAHLN based on the quality of proposed projects.

APHIS also noted that the bill allows the agency 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 United States and reducing the spread and impact of potential disease incursions.

This year, APHIS funding will support an initial round of training and exercise projects, as stakeholders have long supported this area of importance.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., House Agriculture Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Chairman Jim Costa, D-Calif., noted they had supported the animal health programs in the farm bill debate and said they were pleased USDA is taking initial steps to implement the programs.

The National Turkey Federation and United Egg Producers said in a joint statement that the 2018 farm bill “made an unprecedented investment in animal health, and the creation of the National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program was a top priority for our members.”

“We look forward to working with APHIS to ensure poultry producers have access to enhanced tools and resources needed to effectively prevent, identify and respond to disease threats and continue supplying consumers with safe, nutritious poultry products.”

–The Hagstrom Report