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Release No. 0006.02
 
Printable VersionPrintable Version
 
Contact:
USDA Office of Communication (202) 720-4623
Alisa Harrison 202-720-4623
 

PRESIDENT BUSH SIGNS DEFENSE APPROPRIATIONS BILL THAT BOLSTERS USDA HOMELAND SECURITY EFFORTS
$367 million provided for pest and animal disease prevention, food safety, research, and feeding programs

WASHINGTON, January 10, 2002 - The President today signed the Defense Appropriations Act, which included $367 million for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to bolster biosecurity efforts in the wake of the September 11 tragedies, including strengthening programs for food safety, pest and animal disease protections and research, along with funding for other key programs.

"These appropriations will provide important resources to help strengthen our biosecurity efforts in the wake of September 11," said Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman. "The protection of our food supply, including guarding against pest and animal diseases, is extremely critical. We must continue to invest in food safety programs, research and laboratory modernization to ensure America's consumers and food and agriculture industry are protected against any potential threats."

Key funding includes:

  • $105 million for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service for pest and disease exclusion, detection and monitoring
  • $80 million for upgrading USDA facilities and operational security
  • $50 million for an animal bio-containment facility at the National Animal Disease Laboratory
  • $40 million for the Agricultural Research Service
  • $23 million for the Plum Island Animal Disease Center
  • $15 million for security upgrades and bioterrorism protection for the Food Safety and Inspection Service
  • $14 million for increased security measures at the National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa
  • $39 million for the Women, Infants and Children program to respond to the effects of unemployment and other conditions.

"We continue to make our protection systems a top priority," said Veneman. " I commend the work of the Conference Committee for developing this bipartisan resolution. These resources are important investments that will help strengthen our protection programs."

Beginning last year, USDA has worked to enhance many of these programs through annual budget requests and emergency appropriations.

Secretary Veneman has repeatedly called for more long-term planning in infrastructure programs to ensure American farmers and consumers are protected against threats such as foot-and-mouth disease, which ravaged the UK and parts of Europe this spring. As well, Veneman has urged further consideration of such critical programs be examined as part of the next farm bill.

Since September 11, USDA has worked with the newly created Office of Homeland Security, states, other federal agencies, states and industry, to examine immediate emergency needs and develop longer-term strategies to continue protecting America's food and agricultural systems.

"We will continue to coordinate with the Office of Homeland Security and other federal agencies, particularly the Department of Health and Human Services, to utilize these additional resources most effectively," Veneman said. "We formed the USDA Homeland Security Council to help coordinate antiterrorism efforts across all USDA program areas and with other federal and state agencies."

For more information on USDA's homeland security efforts, please visit the Department's biosecurity website at: www.usda.gov/biosecurity .

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