Nebraska Congressman focuses on rural issues, bio security
Nebraska U.S. Congressman Don Bacon says the foot-and-mouth disease vaccine bank could open by the end of the year. “It was my initiative to get the food-and-mouth disease vaccine bank started. It’s a three-year process and we’re in our third year and I hope this year it will be operational.”
In July, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced the initial purchase of vaccine for the National Animal Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Bank.
The Republican House Ag Committee member tells Brownfield biosecurity remains a priority to protect the country’s livestock industry from other deadly diseases. “We’ve got other things like African Swine Fever that we don’t have vaccines for and it would devastate this county if it found its way to North America,” he says.
Bacon says preventing foreign animal diseases like FMD and ASF from entering the US remains a priority for the House Ag Committee.
It is highly transmissible and deadly to pigs, but it does not impact human health or food safety.
In an interview with Brownfield, Bacon said Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers face many issues.
He says expanding the state’s trade markets increases options for producers. “We want to market T-bones to Japan and Korea and Europe. No one can produce beef or pork at the price we can so we just want to expand those opportunities,” he said.
Bacon says the state’s ag industry and related industries face many challenges like a shrinking workforce. “We need to be growing more people in trades like welders and electricians and things like that,” he said. “We need to really to raise our game in high school and post high school for training folks in the technical stuff. People are really having a hard time skilled labor.”
He says constituents who have insurance through the Affordable Care Act are burdened with its price tag. “A farmer or rancher has to have their spouse working to pay medical bills and that wasn’t needed 10 or 12 years ago,” he said.
Bacon spent last week touring farm and ranch operations hearing their concerns and issues they face like high property taxes, President Biden’s tax and 30 for 30 land proposal.