Illinois budget includes funding for more state veterinarians

The Illinois General Assembly passed a state budget over the weekend that includes $750,000 for the Illinois Department of Agriculture to hire more state veterinarians.

Illinois Beef Association Executive Vice President Josh St. Peters tells Brownfield they’ve worked closely with other state ag groups on this effort as animal diseases like Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza and African Swine Fever remain a top concern for livestock producers.

“Today, the Illinois Department of Agriculture only has one field veterinarian on staff to serve all of our livestock producers. So, adding additional veterinarians means we could get back to a regional model of defined service areas.”

He says the funds will help strengthen the state’s approach to foreign animal disease prevention and, “If and when an outbreak were to occur, the way that the department of agriculture and our livestock organizations can work together with producers to quarantine sick animals and hopefully reopen freedom to operate for producers with healthy animals.”

The Illinois Pork Producers Association, Illinois Soybean Association, Illinois Corn Growers Association, and Illinois Farm Bureau also played major roles in solidifying the funding.

The state budget now awaits Governor Pritzker’s signature, which St. Peters anticipates will happen this week.

Interview with Josh St. Peters

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