Livestock Groups Push for FMD Vaccine Bank

Jamie Johansen

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) joined more than 100 other agricultural groups and industry leaders in calling for Congress to establish and fully fund a Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccine bank as part of the 2018 Farm Bill.

The letter said: “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. 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.”

NCBA President Craig Uden said, “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 our vital industry. The consequences would be catastrophic.”

“An outbreak of FMD in this country would be devastating for the U.S. pork industry,” said NPPC President-elect Jim Heimerl, a pork producer from Johnstown, Ohio, and chairman of NPPC’s Farm Bill Policy Task Force. “The next Farm Bill must establish and fully fund a vaccine bank that gives us the ability to quickly control then eradicate this animal disease.”