Stakeholders band together to increase funding for key programs

By: Gina Luke, assistant director, Governmental Relations Division

Subscribe to the AVMA AdvocateThe AVMA has joined other stakeholders in seeking funding for a broad range of key priorities for fiscal 2015. Throughout the month of March, the groups sent several letters to lawmakers on Capitol Hill, urging them to support programs that are important to veterinary medicine and agriculture.

Below is a quick summary of these letters:

On March 24, the Animal Agriculture Coalition (AAC) sent a letter that outlined a comprehensive list of U.S. Department of Agriculture programs and agencies that need funding because of their impact on animal health and the animal agriculture community. The AAC is comprised of most major animal and animal-related commodity organizations, as well as allied organizations representing veterinary medicine, animal science and various livestock or animal agricultural interests in the United States.

On March 18, the AVMA spearheaded a letter specifically seeking continued funding of $4.8 million for the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) and first-time funding for the Veterinary Services Grant Program (VSGP). The VSGP is a competitive grant program that will address gaps in veterinary shortage areas that cannot be fully met through the VMLRP. The new program was authorized in the 2014 Farm Bill and will be administered by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

On March 28, the National Association for the Advancement of Animal Science sent a letter seeking $10 million for the Section 1433 Continuing Animal Health and Disease, Food Security, and Stewardship Research, Education and Extension Programs. Congress enhanced the program in the recently passed Farm Bill so that it now includes a new competitive grants program focused on the high priority research areas of food security, one health and stewardship. The new program, administered by NIFA, has been established to help reverse the trend of decreasing federal investments in animal science.

On March 1, many state and national organizations signed onto a letter with the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians seeking $15 million for the new budget line authorized in the Farm Bill for the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN). The NAHLN is a vital early warning system for emerging and foreign animal diseases. This program will be administered by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

The agriculture spending bills are expected to be among the earliest tackled by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees after they return from the April recess.

For more information contact Gina Luke, 202-289-3204,

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