Representatives of the National Pork Producers Council, the National Milk Producers Federation, the National Corn Growers Association and Iowa State University are urging U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to move quickly to establish a Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccine bank.
At a press conference Tuesday, the groups recognized steps USDA has already taken to establish the bank, but called for “expedient use of mandatory funding included in the 2018 Farm Bill to purchase the volume of vaccines required to effectively contain and eradicate an FMD outbreak.” Currently, the USDA, which has prescribed vaccination for dealing with an FMD outbreak, does not have access to enough vaccine to avoid devastating economic consequences to the U.S. economy, should an outbreak occur.
FMD is an infectious viral disease that affects cloven-hooved animals, including cattle, pigs and sheep; it is not a food safety or human health threat. The disease is endemic in many parts of the world and would have widespread, long-term fallout for livestock and crop agriculture, including the immediate loss of export markets. According to Iowa State University research, an outbreak would result in $128 billion in losses for the beef and pork sectors, $44 billion and $25 billion, respectively, to the corn and soybean farmers, and job losses of more than 1.5 million across U.S. agriculture over 10 years.
Taking part in the press conference were:
NPPC Chief Veterinarian Liz Wagstrom
Dr. James Roth, ISU College of Veterinary Medicine
Sarah McKay, director of Market Development at the National Corn Growers Association
Jamie Jonker, Ph.D., vice president for Sustainability & Scientific Affairs at the National Milk Producers Federation