Courtesy of the National Pork Producers Council
In testimony before the Senate Agriculture Committee on Thursday, USDA Deputy Secretary Stephen Censky reiterated the importance of implementing the 2018 Farm Bill, including the Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccine bank. Currently, the USDA, which has prescribed vaccination for dealing with an FMD outbreak, does not have access to enough vaccine to avoid devastating economic consequences to the U.S. economy, should an outbreak occur. In September, USDA published a “Sources Sought” notice, to gather information from interested vaccine manufacturers on their ability to supply vaccine. The notice closed on Oct. 10. In remarks to the committee, Censky said the agency is in the process of reviewing the information received and plans to issue a request for vaccine supply proposals toward the end of this year or early next year. NPPC recently held a media teleconference, urging USDA to quickly establish the FMD vaccine bank. The disease is endemic in many parts of the world and would have widespread, long-term fallout for livestock and crop agriculture, including the immediate loss of export markets.