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Release No. 0195.01
Calls for Establishment of Permanent Agriculture Infrastructure Fund to Protect Agriculture
WASHINGTON, October 11, 2001 U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ann M. Veneman today announced the distribution of nearly $2 million in grants in thirty-two states to bolster emergency animal disease prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery systems.
These grants will be used to help various states better prepare and coordinate emergency preparedness activities and coordination related to animal disease protection, said Veneman. Funding will be used for training, equipment purchases, and to conduct emergency preparedness exercises to help strengthen these important programs.
Grants have been awarded in the following states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Grants were also awarded to the National Emergency Management Agency and several native-American agencies to assist with livestock and wildlife surveillance.
The goal of the grant program is to assist states in meeting and exceeding animal disease response standards set by a steering committee of the National Animal Health Emergency Management System (NAHEMS). NAHEMS is a comprehensive system that includes federal, state and community governments, voluntary organizations, academic institutions, and industry groups.
In remarks at the 47th Annual Conference of the National Chicken Council, Veneman also called for the establishment of a permanent agriculture infrastructure investment fund that continuously protects agriculture.
We need to take a stronger, more proactive approach to the infrastructure needs of our producers. said Veneman. This includes examining our pest and animal disease protection systems, our labs, research, and food safety programs.
Veneman noted that these are not programs typically addressed in a farm bill. However, today, farmers and producers face many new and emerging issues including, BSE, various strains of e-coli, salmonella and biosecurity, which were not commonly discussed during previous farm bill debates.
However, today, we live in a different world, said Veneman. As our farm policy report indicates, we must take a different look at how we structure farm policy. We cannot afford to risk our food and agriculture system by failing to adequately address these and other critical issues.
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