Groups urge USDA to establish foot-and-mouth disease vaccine bank
Three agriculture organizations called on the USDA to "move as quickly as possible to establish a Foot-and-Mouth Disease vaccine bank at a press conference at Iowa State University Tuesday.
Representatives from the National Pork Producers Council, National Milk Producers Federation and National Corn Growers Association all recognized the steps the USDA had already taken for the bank but also called for mandatory funding to purchase the volume of vaccines needed to contain an outbreak.
FMD affects cattle, pigs and sheep but is not a threat to food or human safety. However, it can be lead to devastating livestock and crop loss. According to an NPPC release, research shows an outbreak would result in $128 billion in losses for the beef and pork sectors, $44 billion and $25 billion, respectively, to the corn and soybean farmers, and job losses of more than 1.5 million across U.S. agriculture over 10 years.
“Livestock is a very important customer for U.S. corn farmers and each is crucial to the success of the other,” said Sarah McKay, director of Market Development at the National Corn Growers Association. “A foreign animal disease outbreak would have an estimated $4 billion a year impact on corn farmers, which would be disastrous on top of current market conditions. In addition, an outbreak may also impact exports of animal ag products. On average, pork exports contribute 28 cents a bushel to the price of corn, so the control of infectious diseases via a vaccine bank is important not only to livestock producers but corn growers as well.”