Pay $750 Million Now, or Billions Later - NCBA's Kathy Simmons Weighs Cost v. Benefit of FMD BankThu, 07 Sep 2017 10:24:55 CDT
Both the beef and pork industries and others are all in agreement, that it is within our best national interest to have a robust Foot and Mouth Disease vaccine bank put in place. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Chief Veterinarian Dr. Kathy Simmons spoke recently with Ron Hays, Radio Oklahoma Ag Network farm director, about why such a facility would be well worth the projected $750 million investment.
“We’re probably talking about enough money to buy a fighter jet ($150 million) every year, for about five years,” she said, acknowledging the fact that this is a significant appropriations request for an agricultural project. “If this were the Department of Defense, this wouldn’t be a big deal.”
The funding being requested, though, is to pay for much more than just a facility. Simmons explains that only a handful of companies in the world make an FMD vaccine, and contracts or agreements would have to be established with these companies to make them suppliers of the bank. According to Simmons, experts at the USDA have calculated approximately how much vaccine would initially be needed in the event of an emergency to contain an outbreak, after which additional vaccine production could be ramped up to meet the requirements beyond that. The impact of the disease itself could potentially be devastating not just to the health of our animals - but it would also be felt elsewhere, such as the corn and soybean industries that supply feed to these animals. And the trickle-down effect goes even further than that, says Simmons, making the point that $750 million seems to pale in comparison to the potential outcome of an unanticipated FMD outbreak.
“It even becomes a food security issue. The US has seven percent of the world’s cattle and produces 20 percent of the world’s beef,” Simmons said. “If we have a disease that impacts the health of our animals to a large degree, that impacts food security globally.”
Listen to NCBA’s Dr. Kathy Simmons explain to Farm Director Ron Hays why investing in an FMD vaccine bank is a small price to pay for assurance in the agricultural industry, on today’s Beef Buzz.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is 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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