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NPPC: Farm bill best bet for FMD vaccine bank

Source: Wikimedia Commons

United States pork producers seek mandatory funding for an economically devastating disease.

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) reiterated the need to protect United States pork producers from a potential Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) outbreak at the 2018 Pork Industry Forum. NPPC Chief Veterinarian Liz Wagstrom believes the upcoming farm bill is the best vehicle for mandatory FMD vaccine bank funding.  

“The House Agriculture Committee is trying to markup a farm bill in the first quarter. We’re at the point in time where we will find out – if we’re in the bill, we’ll keep working and be trying to get that as a mandatory funding option,” Wagstrom said.

The House Agriculture Committee this year requested a “budget-neutral” farm bill. Committee Chairman Michael Conaway (R-TX 11th District) says “there will be no new funds.” Wagstrom says NPPC will continue to work towards funding for a FMD vaccine bank. She believes mandatory funding would require “pocket-change.”

“If we get full funding, we’re looking at less than one-percent of the whole farm bill,” Wagstrom said. “It’s a very small amount when you look at the potential consequences of having a Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak.”

Wagstrom discusses the importance of being proactive in creating a vaccine bank.

“It’s essential because we need to be prepared,” Wagstrom. “You can(not) buy the vaccine after an (out)break starts and need it. There’s not availability for manufacturing to make it at that time. We have to make it ahead of time, in the bank and ready to go for the point in time we need it.”

NPPC claims a FMD outbreak, within the United States, would cause trade disruption and stall U.S. exports at a time when pork producers export more than 25% of their products to other countries.