Every five years, Congress invests in U.S. agriculture in a legislative overhaul called the Farm Bill. This major effort authorizes and funds programs including veterinary research, extension, commodity support, conservation and nutrition, and lays the groundwork for crucial programs and research that benefit animal health and wellness. Congress is hard at work drafting the 2018 Farm Bill, and the AVMA is working with lawmakers at every step to protect veterinary interests and ensure the bill promotes animal health, animal welfare and public health.
The Farm Bill covers a broad range of issues affecting veterinarians – including authorizations for capacity grants that supply funding to veterinary colleges, competitive grants that help us discover cutting-edge technologies for disease detection, the Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank, the Veterinary Services Grant Program and more. Each of these is key to protecting the future of the veterinary profession and mitigating animal diseases, and the AVMA is working with congressional offices to ensure that lawmakers know the importance of these programs and support adequate funding for them.
We’re also working as part of a broad coalition to ask Congress to improve animal disease treatment and prevention by taking three key steps:
- Establish an Animal Pest, Disease and Disaster Prevention and Response Program.
- Increase funding for the National Animal Health Laboratory Network.
- Create a National Livestock Vaccine Bank that can protect U.S. herds against an outbreak of foot and mouth disease.
These three actions can help prevent the types of major disease outbreaks that disrupt our food supply and animal agriculture industry – like the 2015 avian influenza outbreak. You can read a synopsis of our detailed Farm Bill requests here. We were pleased to see that USDA’s Farm Bill and Legislative Principles, released by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and veterinarian Sonny Perdue, reflect many of our priorities for the legislation.
The last Farm Bill was signed into law in early 2014, and Congress must pass a new Farm Bill by the end of September 2018 to avoid potential funding gaps and program expirations. Throughout this process, the AVMA will continue working with congressional offices to ensure veterinary interests are represented. As the Farm Bill advances, we’ll also be providing opportunities for you to contact your lawmakers about the legislation.
Sign up for the AVMA Congressional Advocacy Network to receive breaking updates on opportunities to contact Congress about the Farm Bill.