In a letter to leaders in both the U.S. House and Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee members, the Animal Agriculture Coalition (AAC) urged its views and recommendations for the fiscal year 2014 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies funding. The AAC is comprised of major animal and animal-related commodity organizations, including the American Sheep Industry Association, and allied organizations.
AAC stated in the letter, "The future success of animal agriculture is closely tied to advancements in science and technology in addition to the detection and eradication of disease that could devastate this sector. Adequate funding will be critical for programs that ensure our ability to feed a growing population."
As the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) has the potential to make significant progress towards solving problems facing America's livestock but is consistently receiving funding disproportionate to its contribution to the farm economy, AAC believes there must be increased emphasis on livestock production and protection. Therefore, the AAC supports President Obama's budget request of more than $1.1 billion for ARS.
AAC supports the president's request of $801 million for the National Institute for Food and Agriculture's Research and Education Activities. Within NIFA accounts, AAC urges funding for program with specific emphasis and impacts for animal agriculture, including the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program at $4.79 million, the Animal Health and Disease Research Program at $4 million, the Food Animal Residue Avoidance Database Program at $1.25 million and $9.98 million for the Food and Agriculture Defense Initiative.
As for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, AAC urges Congress to restore funding to the traditional animal health activities and provide this agency with at least $825 million. APHIS has suffered a 16.4-percent cut since fiscal year 2010 and the coalition fears that further cuts to APHIS will bring irrevocable damage, cause deterioration of essential services and impair the agency from carrying out its fundamental missions of guarding the country's boarders from foreign animal diseases and protecting the health of U.S. agriculture.
"APHIS' shift on its priorities for foreign animal diseases from 'stamping out' under the OIE guidelines to vaccination means increased funds are needed for emergency preparedness," state the signators. "APHIS' International Services are critical to the continued success of U.S. trade and our country's ability to gain broader market access."