WASHINGTON —Today, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) is joining a bipartisan effort to improve resources for animal disease preparedness, including Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), African Swine Fever (ASF), and Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) that continue to pose a significant threat to Iowa’s agriculture.
“As a leader in the agriculture industry, Iowa’s contribution to the food on our tables cannot be overstated,” said Senator Ernst. “The spread of avian flu has had devastating effects on our farmers, rural communities, and the entire food supply chain, and it’s abundantly clear that we need to better prepare for and prevent future animal disease threats. Just one outbreak of a foreign animal disease would wreak havoc on Iowa’s economy and our ability to feed consumers worldwide. Food security is national security, and that’s why I’m acting now to protect our animals and our food supply.”
“Foreign animal disease response and preparedness is a major focus for us in Iowa because livestock production is critically important for our state and helps to drive the economy of so many of our communities. Whether it’s Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, Foot and Mouth Disease, African Swine Fever, or any other future threat, we must have the resources and personnel in place to protect our food supply and keep our ag economy strong,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. “I want to thank Senator Ernst for her leadership and work on behalf of Iowa’s livestock farmers to secure continued funding for National Animal Health Laboratory Network, National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program and the National Animal Vaccine and Countermeasures Bank.”
“Iowa pig farmers commend Sens. Ernst for sponsoring the Animal Health Protection Act,” said Ben Nuelle, Director of Public Policy for the Iowa Pork Producers Association. “Ensuring adequate funding for foreign animal disease preparedness is a top priority for the industry. The threat of African Swine Fever is on producers’ minds daily. If the deadly pig disease strikes the U.S., it could decimate the nation’s hog herd and cost pig farmers billions of dollars. Being prepared is critical now more than ever. We must be proactive in foreign animal disease preparedness efforts to keep the supply chain running so consumers can enjoy affordable, nutritious, pork on their dinner plates for years to come.”
“It is not a matter of if, but rather when the U.S. cattle industry will face a foreign animal disease outbreak,” said Bob Noble, cattle producer and President of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association.“We should take what we learned from the Covid-19 pandemic response, such as the need for enhanced vaccine manufacturing, improved precautionary planning, and disease mitigation practices and apply those key learnings to protect cattle production so as to not find ourselves in a situation of trying to play catch up. It is crucial that the new farm bill continue to support and expand animal disease prevention and management with proactive measures to not only protect the livelihoods of cattle producers, but more importantly to sustain a food supply reliant on the high-quality protein beef cattle provide for a growing world population.”
“Iowa’s turkey farmers, allied industry and processors understand how vital healthy turkeys are to feeding Americans. Funding to support this priority is critical as the turkey industry continues to implement new ideas and solutions for combating Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza. We applaud Senator Ernst for her leadership in supporting Iowa’s turkey farmers and securing America's food supply,” said Brad Moline, turkey producer and President of the Iowa Turkey Federation.
The bipartisan bill strengthens animal disease prevention, management, and preparedness at the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN), National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program (NADPRP), and National Animal Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Bank (NAVVCB).
Iowa is the number one pork-producing state with a total economic contribution of $4.64 billion in personal income, $8.48 billion in added value, and sustaining more than 88,161 jobs. Iowa is also the number one egg-producing state, with more than 58 million laying hens and $2.4 billion in sales annually. Iowa ranks seventh for turkey production, supporting over 38,000 jobs and producing $10.4 billion in economic activity for the state. Iowa ranks tenth for beef cattle production, generating more than $7.32 billion in economic activity and supporting 32,317 jobs. Iowa is number one for corn production, with roughly 2.5 billion bushels grown each year, and number two for soybean production, with nearly 587 million bushels grown in 2022.
The Animal Disease and Disaster Prevention, Surveillance, and Rapid Response Act of 2023 is endorsed by the National Turkey Federation, National Pork Producers Council, and National Cattlemen's Beef Association.