Federal Issue Brief

 AVMA 2012 Farm Bill Priorities

Status as of 11/14/12:

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) urges Congress to reconcile the Senate-passed Farm Bill (S. 3240) and the House Agriculture Committee reported Farm Bill (H.R. 6083).  AVMA urges passage of a new five-year farm bill before the end of the legislative session in December 2012.
 
Among the Association’s highest priorities over the last several years -- the Veterinary Services Investment Act (S. 1053) -- is included in both versions of the Farm Bill (S. 3240 Sect. 7103 and H.R. 6083 Sec. 7104).  It is noteworthy that a bill similar to S. 1053 was introduced and passed by the full House of Representatives during the 111th Congress.  It was not reintroduced in that chamber during the 112th Congress.
 
Both bills include a nearly identical provision to establish a competitive veterinary services grant program with qualified entities to develop, implement, and sustain veterinary services (S. 3240 Sect. 7103 and H.R. 6083 Sec. 7104).  The program, authorized at $10 million annually, requires entities to carry out programs that: 1) relieve veterinarian shortage situations, 2) support private veterinary practices engaged in public health activities, or 3) support practices of veterinarians who are participating in or have successfully completed a specified service requirement.  AVMA supports the House because eligible entities are more apt to successfully apply for and meet the goals of the program if cost sharing is excluded.  The Senate version includes a 25 percent cost sharing requirement.

What follows is a summary of AVMA priorities for the 2012 Farm Bill conference:

Matching competitive grant program with qualified entities to develop, implement, and sustain veterinary services (i.e., the Veterinary Services Investment Act, S. 1053)       

Current Law/Policy:    

Authorizes a program to defray the school loans of veterinary medical school graduates who agree to serve for limited time periods in underserved areas. Funding subject to appropriations. [7 USC 3151a]   

Senete bill - S. 3240   

Authorizes an additional matching competitive grant program with qualified entities to develop, implement, and sustain veterinary services. Authorizes $10 million per year, subject to annual appropriations. [Sec. 7103]    

H.R. 6083 - AVMA supports the House provision

Nearly identical to Senate bill but eliminates a 25 percent cost sharing requirement for grantees. [Sec. 7104]

National Animal Health Laboratory Network

Current Law/Policy

Special authorization for biosecurity planning and response [7 USC 3351 Sec. 3351]

S. 3240- AVMA supports Senate provision

 Authorizes $20,000,000 for each fiscal year 2013 through 2017 for biosecurity planning and response. Previously authorized funding was “such sums as necessary”. [Sec. 7119]   

House bill -   H.R. 6083

Authorizes $10,000,000 for each fiscal year 2013 through 2017 for biosecurity planning and response. Previously authorized funding was “such sums as necessary”. [Sec. 7125]

Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research 

Current Law/Policy     

No comparable provision.   

S. 3240 -   AVMA supports Senate provision 

Establishes the “Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research,” a new nonprofit corporation designed to supplement USDA’s basic and applied research activities, and provides total mandatory funding of up to $100 million from the Commodity Credit Corporation. Federal funding is available only to the extent that the foundation secures an equal amount of non-federal matching funds for each dollar of expenditure. The foundation will solicit and accept private donations to award grants or enter into agreements for collaborative public/private partnerships with scientists at USDA and in academia, non-profits, and the private sector. [Sec. 7601]   

House Bill - H.R. 6083

No comparable provision.

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (includes minor use animal drug provision)   

Current Law/Policy   

The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) makes competitive grants for fundamental and applied research, and for purchasing research equipment. Authorized funding at $700 million annually from FY2008 through FY2012, subject to appropriations. [7 USC 450i]   

Sentate bill - S. 3240   

Reauthorizes at $700 million per year for AFRI through FY2017. Directs USDA to streamline the competitive grant process for eligible institutions with limited resources. [Sec. 7404]  

H.R. 6083 - AVMA supports House provisions

Similar to the Senate bill. Adds areas of emphasis to Competitive, Special, and Facilities Research Grant Act to include research and development of surveillance methods, vaccines, vaccination delivery systems, or diagnostic tests for zoonotic diseases in wildlife reservoirs presenting a potential concern to public health or domestic livestock; identification of animal drug needs, generation and dissemination of data for safe and effective therapeutic applications of animal drugs for minor species and minor uses of such drugs in major species, plant-based foods that are major sources of nutrients of concern, conservation practices and technologies designed to address nutrient losses and improve water quality, pest management for minor agricultural use and for use on specialty crops. [Sec. 7405]

Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank 

Current Law/Policy 

Authorized funding for the Food Animal Residue Avoidance Database of $2,500,000 annually from FY 2008 through FY2012, subject to appropriations.
[7 USC 7642 Sec. 604]  

S. 3240    

Reauthorizes program and extends authority to appropriate funds for FY2013-FY2017. [Sec. 7306]

H.R. 6083

      Identical to the Senate bill. [Sec. 7307]

Regional Centers of Excellence      

Current Law/Policy 

Regional Centers of Excellence. Subtitle H of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990. Regional centers of excellence authorized [7 USC 592i]   

S. 3240 - AVMA supports Senate provision

Authorizes $10,000,000 for each fiscal year 2013 through 2017 for .Regional Centers of Excellence. [Sec. 7210]

House Bill -  H.R. 6083

Nearly identical to Senate bill. [Sec. 7214]

Animal Fighting Venture Spectator Prohibition    

Current Law/Policy   

Animal Fighting Venture Prohibition. The Animal Welfare Act prohibits and provides penalties for sponsoring or exhibiting an animal in an animal fighting venture. [7 USC 2156] Penalties are prescribed and enforced by [18 USC 49]  

S. 3240 - AVMA supports Senate provision 

Amends the Animal Welfare Act to prohibit knowingly attending an animal fighting venture or causing a minor to attend such a venture. Confirms that penalties for violations are prescribed and enforced under 18 USC 49. [Sec. 12213]   

House bill - H.R. 6083

Similar to the Senate bill in that it prohibits knowingly attending or causing a minor to attend an animal fighting venture, but does not include the confirmation of penalties provision. [Sec. 12303]


























AVMA Governmental Relations Division contacts:

Gina Luke, Assistant Director, 202/289-3204
Dr. Ashley Morgan, Assistant Director, 202/289-3210
Dr. Whitney Miller, Assistant Director, 202/289-3211