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Senate Agriculture Committee to Hold Hearing on Avian Influenza Following Iowa Senators’ Request

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst’s request, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry today announced it will hold a hearing on July 7th entitled “Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza: The Impact of the U.S. Poultry Sector and Protecting U.S. Poultry Flocks.” The announcement follows a letter sent by the two Senators from Iowa to Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) requesting a hearing on the federal government’s response to the ongoing outbreak of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).

“I’m pleased that Chairman Roberts has granted our request to examine the federal government’s response to the devastating outbreak of the avian influenza and its impact on Iowa producers, consumers, and our agriculture industry nationwide,” said Senator Ernst. “This is an important opportunity to bring leaders and key stakeholders together to review the pandemic spread of this deadly disease, identify areas for improvement within response procedures, and set the stage to ensure we are better prepared in the future."

“I appreciate Chairman Roberts agreeing to our request to hold a hearing in the Senate Agriculture Committee.  This is immensely important to Iowa producers and the Iowa economy,” said Senator Grassley.  “We need to learn from the last six months so, in addition to confronting the current epidemic, we’re better prepared to respond at all levels when the disease likely strikes again.”

Senators Grassley and Ernst previously urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to deploy all appropriate resources to address the HPAI outbreak. The Iowa Senators also joined the entire Iowa Congressional delegation in a letter to the USDA to provide any assistance under their statutory authority to help contain and prevent further spread of HPAI.

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