WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 18, 2017) – The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) today joined with more than 100 other agricultural groups and industry leaders in calling for Congress to establish and fully fund a robust Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccine bank as part of the 2018 Farm Bill. The letter was sent to U.S. Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), as well as U.S. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-Texas) and Collin Peterson (D-Minn.)
“An outbreak of FMD will have a devastating effect on all of agriculture – not just livestock producers – and will have long-lasting ramifications for the viability of U.S. agriculture, the maintenance of food security in this great nation, and overall national security,” the letter stated. “An outbreak of FMD would immediately close all export markets. The cumulative impact of an outbreak on the beef and pork sectors over a 10-year period would be more than $128 billion… The annual jobs impact of such a reduction in industry revenue is more than 58,000 in direct employment and nearly 154,000 in total employment.”
As the letter was delivered to Capitol Hill, NCBA President Craig Uden stressed the importance of investing in a FMD vaccine bank, rather than trying to contain an outbreak after the fact.
“Simply put, we cannot afford to be locked out of valuable foreign markets again,” Uden said. “It’s taken us well over a decade to get back up to speed in Asia after the 2003 BSE scare, and we must have support and full funding for this FMD vaccine bank to protect for our vital industry. The consequences would be catastrophic.”
Uden recently returned from a trade mission to China, which just reopened its borders to American-made beef for the first time in nearly 14 years.
The letter to Capitol Hill’s agricultural leaders was spearheaded by NCBA, the National Pork Producers Council, the American Sheep Industry Association, and the National Milk Producers Federation.