NPPC plays key role in ensuring ag border inspectors remain funded

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NPPC plays key role in ensuring ag border inspectors remain funded

The CEO of the National Pork Producers Council is relieved border protections have shored up in the last month and-a-half.

Neil Dierks says there are a lot of moving parts, but the U.S. is better prepared to keep African swine fever and other foreign animal diseases out of the country than it was 45 days ago.

“And the reason for that is, and we were very supportive of and played a significant role with getting funding from the federal government to help make sure that we kept our agricultural inspectors in place at our ports, our airports, and our border crossings.”

The funds came out of the last COVID aid package.

Dierks says border inspectors are partially compensated by air fare and shipping fees.

“Well, (the fees) were significantly decreased because of the COVID situation and reduction of travel. And that raised real issues that we might see ag inspectors furloughed.”

The COVID relief bill that passed at the end of 2020 contained $600 million to cover border inspector salaries through the end of September.

Dierks says by then he hopes travel has normalized and those travel fees will return to pre-pandemic levels.