USDA releases $43.4 million to help states combat animal, plant diseases

May 31, 2002 (CIDRAP News) – The release of $43.4 million in federal funds to help states detect and respond to animal and plant disease emergencies was announced yesterday by Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman.

The money is a share of $328 million in homeland security funds that Congress and President Bush approved earlier this year for the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), USDA officials said in a news release.

"These grants are an important component of the administration's continued efforts to strengthen homeland security protection as it relates to food and agriculture," Veneman stated in the release.

USDA said the largest share of the money—$20.6 million—is for a network of ten diagnostic laboratories around the country to permit rapid diagnosis of animal diseases. The labs, funded in amounts ranging from $750,000 to $1.65 million, will be in Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, and Washington.

Another $14 million will be used "to strengthen state capabilities to respond to animal disease emergencies, primarily by helping every state to meet the national standards of emergency preparedness established by the National Animal Health Emergency Management System," the announcement said.

The rest of the money includes $4.3 million for state-level surveillance of animal diseases and $4.3 million to help states improve detection of plant pests and diseases.

The USDA announcement shows that the largest state share of the money is Florida's $2.23 million, which includes $1.65 million for one of the diagnostic labs. The smallest state allocation is Rhode Island's $81,145. Among states that will not get a laboratory, Nebraska gets the largest amount at $800,000.

USDA officials noted that several other security-related funding allocations were announced earlier this year. These included $177 million for physical and operational security improvements at key USDA facilities and $35 million to strengthen the quarantine program to stop agricultural pests and diseases at the borders.

The USDA's budget request for fiscal 2003 includes more than $150 million for additional security measures, officials said.

See also:

USDA press release

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