Ag Secretary Vilsack Remains Strong Defender of Need for NBAFFri, 13 Apr 2012 14:52:10 CDT
The proposed 2013 federal budget may not contain funding for construction of the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility in Kansas, but Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack is standing behind the project. Secretary Vilsack, who visited Manhattan, Kansas Tuesday, says construction of the facility should move forward. He contends the research facility is important to ensuring the U.S. continues to have a safe and adequate food supply for its citizens and the world.
He talked with Eric Atkinson of the Kansas State Radio Network about the NBAF- and his comments about the animal disease lab are featured on our Friday Beef Buzz.
The NBAF lab would handle research on deadly agricultural pathogens - replacing the aging facility at Plum Island, New York. But critics say moving this kind of research to the mainland would put the nation's food supply and security at unnecessary risk. When the site selection process was underway a few years ago, a semi finalist for the lab was the Ft. Reno facility in Canadian County- however agricultural groups in the state expressed misgivings about having the lab in the heart of the state, relatively close to the world's largest livestock auction market in Oklahoma City- and Oklahoma backed away from aggressively pursuing the project. It was later awarded to Manhattan, and ground was broken a couple of years ago at the location on campus at Kansas State University.
Vilsack says a recent risk assessment put the chances of the release of a deadly animal pathogen like foot and mouth disease at one-tenth of one-percent. He says that's an indication of how safe the facility is being designed and would be constructed. Vilsack plans to continue to work with members of Congress to figure out how and when NBAF construction can be funded.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network- but is also a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show- and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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