Coalition led by NPPC asks Congress to ensure ag inspection funding
A coalition of more than 150 agriculture and trade groups led by the National Pork Producers Council is asking Congress to appropriate funds to address what could be a $630 million COVID-19 related shortfall through fiscal year 2021.
Andrew Bailey, the science and technology legal counsel with the National Pork Producers Council, says the coalition sent a letter to Congress on Monday asking for funding to ensure that agricultural inspections at US borders remain strong next year.
“In whatever form that takes-if there is a supplemental appropriation or an actual ag appropriations bill that comes through and provides temporary funding because once trade and travel return to normal levels, the user fees should pick back up and continue paying for the program,” he says.
The inspections are funded by Agriculture Quarantine Inspection user fees, but these fees have taken a hit due to the down economy and travel restrictions.
Bailey says U.S. Customs and Border Protection is critical to preventing the introduction of plant and animal pests and diseases that could hurt US agriculture.
“Maybe everyday there’s an interdiction somewhere in the US of an animal or plant pest or potential disease vector and these are things that if they came into North America it could run the gamut from negatively impacting a single species of plant or animal all the way up to a tremendous trade impact,” he says.
He says American agriculture and the pork industry need these inspections to protect domestic industries.
Audio: Andrew Bailey