Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster Ron Hays is featuring comments from the Executive Director of Government Affairs at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Allison Rivera. While in Washington, D.C., Farm Director KC Sheperd had the chance to visit with Rivera about the vaccine bank and more.
“In the last farm bill, we created this three-legged stool, if you will, and one of the legs of the stool in the animal health space was the creation of the vaccine bank,” Rivera said. “I lovingly call it the FMD (Food and Mouth Disease) vaccine bank because that is what is currently in it. We did create this bank so that down the road, if for our pork friends, there is an ASF (African Swine Fever) vaccine and they want it in there, then we can find some dollars and pop it in there.”
Rivera said funding requested for this next vaccine bank will be based on a study from Dr. James Roth out of Iowa State University.
“He basically breaks down the number of strains of FMD out there and basically mentions what we might need and what would be beneficial to protect our industry from the outbreak of foreign animal disease like FMD,” Rivera said. “This go around, we are, again, asking for more of those dollars so that we can make sure we have enough antigen, and our bank is robust.”
As outbreaks of FMD have occurred off the coast of Australia and Indonesia, Rivera said, FMD is around the globe, so it is important to be prepared in the U.S.
Rivera also talked about the USDA recently awarding funding through the 2018 Farm Bill’s National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program (NADPRP). This funding will help to enhance the nation’s ability to respond to and control animal disease outbreaks rapidly.
“NADPRP is one of the legs of the three-legged stool, and things like NADPRP have allowed for states to apply for grants to be better prepared in the case of a foreign animal disease outbreak,” Rivera said.
Rivera also provided an update on the hours of service for transport issues.
“Our electronic logging device delay that we get through the appropriations process is in place until September 30 of 2023,” Rivera said. “We have already made those requests through our appropriator friends to make sure we have that delay passed September 30. But again, that is a year-to-year exemption that we have for livestock haulers.”
Regarding hours of service, Rivera said NCBA continues to push for more flexibility.
“We would love to be able to completely exempt livestock haulers from hours of service, but as you stated, this is an ongoing effort,” Rivera said. “We continue to remind our friends at FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) that throughout Covid when livestock haulers were fully except from hours of service, that we did it safely and we maintained that high level of safety that they insist that is needed if we are going to find flexibility under hours of service.”
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