WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump signed into law a bipartisan bill cosponsored by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) to address the shortage of agricultural inspectors who protect the nation’s food supply and agricultural industry at the border. The Protecting America’s Food & Agriculture Act of 2019 would ensure the safe and secure trade of agricultural goods across our nation’s borders by authorizing U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to hire additional inspectors, support staff and canine teams to fully staff America’s airports, seaports and land ports of entry.
“We’ve seen how a variety of diseases can devastate agricultural communities around the world. Now is the time to be proactive. Additional agricultural inspectors and resources along our border will continue to make safety a top priority. This is great news for our farmers and consumers. President Trump said he would stand with our farmers and he has once again demonstrated that by signing this bill into law,” Grassley said.
Additional cosponsors include Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa).
Below are statements in support of the bipartisan legislation:
“Preventing the spread of African swine fever and other foreign animal diseases to the United States is our top priority,” said David Herring, President of the National Pork Producers Council. “We appreciate all that the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection are doing to strengthen biosecurity at our borders. To further safeguard American agriculture, we need additional agriculture inspectors at our sea and airports. This essential legislation will help address the current inspection shortfall, reduce the risk of ASF and other foreign animal diseases, and protect the food supply for U.S. consumers.”
“Ensuring the safe and secure trade of food and agriculture across our borders is critical to our nation’s economy. U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspectors play a critical role in preventing the spread of dangerous pests, invasive plants and animals, and diseases that can cause significant harm to the U.S. economy,” said John Drake, Executive Director of Supply Chain Policy at the United States Chamber of Commerce. “While the trade volume of food and agriculture is increasing, CBP staffing is having a hard time keeping pace. This bill would help address the problem by enabling CBP to hire critical workers to safeguard our borders and economy, and protect agricultural and livestock producers and the public.”