President Obama in April signed fiscal year 2011 appropriations legislation allocating $998,000 for the Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank.
FARAD is a decades-old Department of Agriculture-sponsored project with a primary mission of providing information on how to avoid problems with drug and pesticide residues and environmental contaminants in food animals.
The support system operates out of the veterinary institutions at North Carolina State University, the University of California-Davis, and the University of Florida. FARAD is credited with mitigating several food safety crises, including those arising from the Chernobyl nuclear fallout and the dioxin contamination of milk in Europe.
Funding has been a challenge for much of the program's existence since its creation in 1982. In 2007, FARAD had to suspend certain services after Congress appropriated no monies for it.
And yet, despite the shaky economy and a divided Congress, the current level of funding for FARAD was cut just $2,000 from FY 2010.
Through its Governmental Relations Division, the AVMA will continue to press Congress to support FARAD.
A promising sign for FARAD supporters came this May when the House subcommittee that recommends congressional spending on agriculture allocated $1 million to the program in the panel's draft FY 2012 appropriations bill. "This is an excellent indicator of the funding level that will emerge at the end of the budget process for the next fiscal year," observed Gina Luke, a GRD assistant director.
The Association has requested that the agriculture secretary relocate FARAD from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture to an agency more appropriate to manage it. NIFA claims that FARAD, which has an extension component, falls outside its mission and, therefore, should not be a part of its portfolio.