As Congress works to finalize the details of the 2018 farm bill, the AVMA is continuing advocacy work in support of key programs that protect animal health and food safety.
Lawmakers missed an important deadline for finalizing the farm bill on Sept. 30, and House and Senate negotiators now hope to come to an agreement before the 115th Congress ends. While negotiators work to iron out differences between their two versions of the bill, the AVMA is asking lawmakers to support programs that benefit veterinarians, animal health and animal welfare.
The farm bill funds and authorizes many important programs for veterinarians. These include the Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank, Animal Health and Disease Research Program grants, and competitive research grants within the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative. For the 2018 farm bill, AVMA has worked aggressively over the past year to secure three complementary programs needed to combat animal disease outbreaks:
- A national Animal Pest, Disease and Disaster Prevention and Response Program, to improve coordination between state veterinarians, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and on-the-ground veterinarians during a disease outbreak
- Enhancements to the National Animal Health Laboratory Network to facilitate rapid diagnosis and response times for new animal disease outbreaks
- A new national livestock vaccine bank with immediate attention to foot-and-mouth disease, to provide vaccine resources for response to high-consequences disease outbreaks
AVMA partnered with a coalition of animal agriculture groups to successfully secure funding for all three programs in the separate farm bills passed by the House and Senate. We’re focusing now on ensuring full and permanent funding for these programs.
We’re spreading the word about these important programs through media outreach as well as meetings with lawmakers. Both AVMA President Dr. John de Jong and President-Elect Dr. John Howe have published op-ed articles in support of them, and we're also running a radio campaign that highlights their importance. You can listen to our radio ad here:
Many differences between the two bills remain to be reconciled. If lawmakers cannot come to an agreement on a final bill before the 115th Congress ends, Congress will have to begin the farm bill process again next year.