The ag department will spend $27.1 million on the vaccine and store it for future use
By Diego Flammini
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has taken a step to mitigate the effects of a potential livestock disease outbreak.
The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced an investment of $27.1 million to purchase doses of a foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) vaccine for the National Animal Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Bank (NAVVCB). The NAVVCB was created as part of the 2018 Farm Bill.
The vaccine will be stored and used if an outbreak occurs to stop the spread of the disease.
The U.S. already contributes to the North American Foot-and-Mouth Disease Vaccine Bank with Canada and Mexico. The bank was established in 1982.
The 2018 Farm Bill mandates $150 million in mandatory funding over the next five years for the FMD vaccine bank.
This spending will ensure more doses of the vaccine are available in the U.S. should an outbreak happen.
“While we are confident we can keep foot-and-mouth disease out of the country, as we have since 1929, having access to vaccine is an important insurance policy,” Greg Ibach, marketing and regulatory programs under secretary, said in a statement.
An outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the U.S. could cause significant economic damage.
Research from Iowa State University estimated the disease could cause $128 billion in losses for beef and pork producers, almost $70 billion in losses for corn and soybean producers and 1.5 million job losses over 10 years.
The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) which lobbied for the Farm Bill’s mandatory funding, is pleased to see the USDA honor its promise to farmers.
“While U.S. pork producers and other farmers face significant challenges and uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a solution to FMD preparedness is in our grasp,” Howard Roth, president of the NPPC, said in a statement.
The U.S. beef sector is also happy with the USDA’s progress on securing the vaccine doses.
"We are pleased to see USDA is moving forward with creating a supply of FMD vaccines in the NAVVCB to ensure ranchers and farmers have timely access to a critical tool in the fight against foreign animal diseases, such as FMD. This is a promising first step forward to begin the work authorized in the 2018 Farm Bill; but, more action is needed to strengthen this newly created vaccine bank," Allison Rivera, executive director of government affairs with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, said in a statement.