News
Press Release
December 20, 2018

Farm Bill Includes Study Panel Recommendations


 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
Contact:  Steve Aaron, SRA Communications, (717) 554-8614, steve@SRACommunications.com
 
***PRESS RELEASE***

FARM BILL INCLUDES SEVERAL BLUE RIBBON STUDY PANEL ON BIODEFENSE 
RECOMMENDATIONS TO BETTER PROTECT NATION'S AGRICULTURE

National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program and 
Creation of National Animal Vaccine Bank Among Included Recommendations
    

WASHINGTON, D.C.  (December 20, 2018) – President Trump today signed into law H.R. 2, the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018. Also known as the Farm Bill, the act includes several recommendations proposed by the bipartisan Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense to better protect the nation’s food and agriculture sector from biological attacks and naturally occurring outbreaks. Key provisions include: 

  • Establish a National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program, as recommended in the Study Panel's 2017 Defense of Animal Agriculture report;
  • Create a National Animal Vaccine and Veterinary Counter-Measures Bank, with increased funding for the stockpiling of animal medical countermeasures - also in the Defense of Animal Agriculture report; and
  • Authorize increased funding levels for the National Animal Health Laboratory Network - addressed in Recommendation 14b from the Panel's 2015 National Blueprint for Biodefense.

“Emerging and reemerging animal diseases are increasing at an alarming rate. These, along with threats and attempts by those with nefarious intent to attack food and agriculture, point to the need to reduce the biological risk to this sector immediately,” said former Senate Majority Leader and Panel member Tom Daschle. 

The Panel recognizes the leadership that Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry and Chairman Michael Conway (R-TX) and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN) of the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture, have shown in addressing this issue. The Panel also thanks Representative Roger Marshall (R-KS) for sharing his concerns regarding agrodefense.

“Our Panel is pleased to see several of our recommendations included in this year’s Farm Bill. They are central to ensuring the security of one of the largest sectors of the U.S. economy,” added Ken Wainstein, former Homeland Security Advisor and Panel member.

About the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense 
The Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense was established in 2014 to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the state of U.S. biodefense efforts, and to issue recommendations to foster change. The Panel’s 2015 report, A National Blueprint for Biodefense: Leadership and Major Reform Needed to Optimize Efforts, identified capability gaps and recommended changes to U.S. policy and law to strengthen national biodefense while optimizing resource investments. In September 2018, the White House released a National Biodefense Strategy, a top recommendation from the Blueprint. The Panel continues to assess biodefense challenges and to urge reform. Former Senator Joe Lieberman and former Governor Tom Ridge co-chair the Panel, and are joined by former Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, former Representative Jim Greenwood, and former Homeland Security Advisor Ken Wainstein. Hudson Institute is the Panel’s fiscal sponsor.