USDA announces first foot-and-mouth vaccine purchase
The Agriculture Department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced it had purchased $27.1 million in foot-and-mouth disease vaccine, its first, for the National Animal Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Bank.
“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,” said Agriculture Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach. “Vaccines could be an important tool in the event of an incursion of the disease in the U.S., but their use will depend on the circumstances of the incursion and require careful coordination with the affected animal industries.”
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., praised the purchase.
“When we wrote the 2018 farm bill, we listened to stakeholders from start to finish. Our livestock producers put a priority on this important investment to bolster our animal disease infrastructure, and I’m pleased to see this vaccine bank coming to fruition,” said Roberts. “The risk the world faces from disease transmission is more acute today than ever. Safeguarding American agriculture from the impacts of devastating zoonotic and animal diseases, such as foot-and-mouth disease, is an investment well made. The establishment of this vaccine bank will allow the U.S. to more quickly ensure continuity of business should this devastating disease ever impact U.S. livestock producers.”
Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee Chairman John Hoeven, R-N.D., said, “We worked to establish a national animal vaccine bank in the 2018 farm bill, and we welcome this investment in a FMD vaccine. USDA’s investment in this animal vaccine bank will help address risks to animal health and provide important safeguards for our nation’s livestock industry.”
House Agriculture Committee ranking member Michael Conaway, R-Texas, said, “I thank Undersecretary Greg Ibach for securing foot-and-mouth disease vaccine as well as his continued commitment to USDA’s animal pest and disease response. This was one of my top priorities during the 2018 farm bill process, and while I hope we never need it, the National Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Bank will give American livestock producers rapid-response capabilities should a devastating outbreak occur.”
National Pork Producers council President Howard “AV” Roth, a hog farmer from Wauzeka, Wis., said, “Today’s announcement is momentous, representing years of NPPC advocacy to ensure U.S. agriculture is protected should we have an FMD outbreak. 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. We thank USDA and especially Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach for proceeding with such an important effort, and look forward to continuing to work with the agency to ensure the FMD vaccine bank is adequately stocked.”
Robert E. McKnight Jr., president of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, said, “The creation of the National Animal Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Bank was a cornerstone of the 2018 farm bill, and something cattle producer organizations across the country fought passionately to accomplish. USDA’s purchase of $27.1 million in foot-and-mouth disease vaccine — along with their ongoing efforts to keep the disease out of the country — will help ensure the safety of America’s cattle and beef supply.” ❖