How Beagles are helping USDA APHIS Strengthen Bio-Security

Lawmakers are looking to strengthen bio-security, with the threat of diseases like High-Path Avian Flu and African Swine Fever. A group of bi-partisan senators just introduced a bill that will give more “bark” to the Beagle Brigade!

The ‘National Detector Dog Training Center Act’ aims to reinforce training for Beagle Brigades, a class of dogs that inspects cargo to detect animal pests and diseases.

Iowa senator Joni Ernst says the legislation would streamline funding.

“This bill which out we will use to support our Beagle Brigade, actually will consist of appropriating funds from the federal government to this program. Right now, the Beagle Brigade funding it is done through user fees. And we know that those can go up and down through the course of a number of years. So, what we want is steady, consistent funding to protect our agricultural sector.”

Ernst says she hears from farmers every day that biosecurity it a top concern.

“We did just have a case of Highly-Pathogenic Avian Flu, Influenza and we know that is in Iowa, and we have also heard that there are cases of African Swine Fever in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. So, these are sources that are very close to home for us and we know how important it is to protect our ag resources.”

The legislation builds on past efforts to support border security including the 2019 ‘Protecting America’s Food and Agriculture Act’ which increased the number of inspectors and canine teams.

“It is a continual process where we find there might be gaps that exist within biosecurity and continuing to build on that. So, what we have seen, of course, we want to put every measure in place that we can, but we have found a gap again, the funding is not as consistent with this detector dog program or Beagle Brigade. And this is one way to shore up a gap that currently exists in protecting our agricultural sector.”

The bill is co-sponsored by Georgia democrat Raphael Warnock.

“We do have the National Detector Dog Training Center, located in Newnan, Georgia, and we do think that we have a path forward on this bill, not only because it is bipartisan, but it’s also the right thing to do.”

In addition to beagles for the border, the center also trains Jack Russell Terriers and Labradors to detect invasive species and pests that are already in the country.

According to USDA, 75 percent of the dogs complete their training and go on to protect the country. The other 25 percent go up for adoption to become great family pets. You can learn more at www.aphis.usda.gov

Related:

High Pathogenic Avian Influenza Spreads to Iowa

APHIS: Stopping Smuggled Meats Crucial to Halting Spread of African Swine Fever

APHIS’s Chief Vet talks Indiana’s response to HPAI confirmation






Agriculture Shows
From soil to harvest. Top Crop is an all-new series about four of the best farmers in the world—Dan Luepkes, of Oregan, Illinois; Cory Atley, of Cedarville, Ohio; Shelby Fite, of Jackson Center, Ohio; Russell Hedrick, of Hickory, North Carolina—reveals what it takes for them to make a profitable crop. It all starts with good soil, patience, and a strong planter setup.
Champions of Rural America is a half-hour dive into the legislative priorities for Rural America. Join Host and Market Day Report Anchor Christina Loren as she interviews members of the Congressional Western Caucus to learn about efforts in Washington to preserve agriculture and tackles the most important topics in the ag industry on Champions of Rural America!
Farm Traveler is for people who want to connect with their food and those who grow it. Thanks to direct-to-consumer businesses, agritourism, and social media, it’s now easier than ever to learn how our food is made and support local farmers. Here on the Farm Traveler, we want to connect you with businesses offering direct-to-consumer products you can try at home, agritourism sites you can visit with your family, and exciting new technologies that are changing how your food is being grown.
Featuring members of Congress, federal and state officials, ag and food leaders, farmers, and roundtable panelists for debates and discussions.
Host Ben Bailey hops in the tractor cab, giving farmers 10 minutes to answer as many questions and grab as much cash as they can for their local FFA chapter.