News from Washington

April 27, 2023

House Agriculture Committee holds hearing on animal disease

Last week, the House Committee on Agriculture’s Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry held a hearing on USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) animal disease prevention and response efforts. Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt and APHIS Associate Deputy Administrator for Veterinary Services Alecia Naugle responded to questions on APHIS efforts regarding African Swine Fever, hand-foot-and-mouth disease, chronic wasting disease and an especially significant focus on HPAI. There was much discussion over HPAI vaccination strategies, public outreach, improvements to current biosecurity plans and APHIS outbreak response and cases. 

EPA Administrator Regan testifies before House Agriculture Committee

EPA Administrator Michael Regan recently testified before the House Committee on Agriculture. One of the recurring themes throughout the hearing was the contention over the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) ruling. Republicans expressed disapproval of current EPA regulation and overreach and concern for the WOTUS rule's impact on agriculture. Other topics discussed in the hearing revolved around biofuels, climate change and resiliency, PFAS, contaminated site cleanup, water and wastewater infrastructure.

USDA announces $2.29 million to protect animal health

USDA APHIS announced $2.29 million for the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN). This funding will help prevent the spread of pests and diseases through IT standardization, increasing diagnostic testing instruments and stockpiling efforts. NAHLN is a nationally coordinated network of animal health laboratories working to monitor high-consequence pathogens in the U.S. food supply. The 2018 Farm Bill provided funding for this program.

NCBA spearheading coalition efforts in support of commodity checkoff programs

Over the last month, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) has hosted strategy meetings to support commodity checkoff programs against recent opposition from anti-checkoff groups and to address the proposed Opportunities for Fairness in Farming (OFF) Act. The OFF Act would impose several new restrictions on commodity checkoff programs and their implementation, negatively impacting industries with federally authorized checkoff programs. NCBA put together a coalition letter defending checkoff programs and expressed opposition to the OFF Act to send to House and Senate Agriculture Committee Leadership. Signatures included numerous trade associations that this proposed bill would directly impact, including UEP.