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Omnibus bill includes APHIS funding

Part of the omnibus spending bill that provides more coronavirus relief and money to run the government until January also includes additional funding for border inspections by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. 

Andrew Bailey is the Science & Technology Counsel for the National Pork Producers Council.  He says the new funding makes up for lost travel fees that cover the cost of inspections. “They are providing 635-million dollars to APHIS, and that’s being made available until the end of next year actually to offset the losses they’ve experienced so far and to allow them to essentially tap that amount of money as an emergency fund and to keep the program going until travel and trade rebound.”

Bailey says international air travel dropped around 98%, so the funding dried up fast and pork producers have been pushing since June for legislators to find additional funding to continue APHIS inspections. “For the pork industry top of mind, even during the COVID pandemic has been African Swine Fever that continues to rage across Asia and now into eastern Europe. This is a serious concern and obviously the number one priority is just keeping it out of the U.S. AQI inspectors are the front line of defense to do that.”

Bailey says the funding pays for human inspectors and the famously photogenic beagle brigade.

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