The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) joined together today with 531 other organizations representing all facets of U.S. agriculture in a letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) urging him to bring the chamber of Congress’s recently defeated Farm Bill back to the House floor. Developing comprehensive Farm Bill legislation for the country is crucial to the veterinarians and scientists who work to ensure the safety of the nation’s food supply and guard against diseases that could impact animal and public health.
In the letter, the associations state: “It is vital for the House to try once again to bring together a broad coalition of lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to provide certainty for farmers, rural America, the environment and our economy in general and pass a five-year farm bill upon returning in July. We believe that splitting the nutrition title from the rest of the bill could result in neither farm nor nutrition programs passing, and urge you to move a unified farm bill forward.”
The move comes following the surprise defeat of the U.S. House’s bill—H.R. 1947 – the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013—by a vote of 195-234 on June 20, due in part because of partisan differences to proposed changes to the nation’s nutrition program that provides food stamps to millions of Americans. The U.S. Senate passed its version of the bill—S. 954 – the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013—by a vote of 66-27 on June 10, which included many of AVMA’s priorities for veterinary medicine.
AVMA’s Governmental Relations Division closely monitors Farm Bill legislation because it includes programs that will assist veterinarians and scientists in carrying out crucial food safety and disease research programs that impact animal and public health. Of note, AVMA supports key provisions such as:
- Establishing a new grant program that would help to develop, implement and sustain veterinary services.
- Establishing a new Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research, which would foster continued innovation in agricultural research.
- Reauthorizing the Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank (FARAD), which enables veterinary scientists to provide vital information to producers to keep milk, meat and eggs free of drug and chemical residues.
- Reauthorizing the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN), which works to detect emerging and zoonotic diseases so veterinarians can better protect public and animal health.
Visit AVMA’s issue brief on the Farm Bill reauthorization to learn more about these and other programs of interest to veterinary medicine that the association supports as part of this comprehensive legislation.
The current extension of the Farm Bill is set to expire Sept. 30.