Friday, May 16, 2008

Chambliss Announces NBAF Provision Included In Farm Bill

The U.S. Senate today overwhelmingly approved the bipartisan farm bill conference report, coauthored by U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., Ranking Republican Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. The farm bill, titled the “Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008,” includes a provision that instructs the Secretary of Agriculture to issue a permit to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for the study of foot and mouth disease at the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF).

The proposed NBAF, operated by the Department of Homeland Security, will study high-consequence animal and zoonotic diseases to ensure our nation is prepared to detect and mitigate deadly agriculture diseases. It will replace an aging facility on Plum Island, New York, where foot and mouth disease research is now conducted.

“The study of foot and mouth disease, one of the most infectious livestock diseases known to man, is necessary to prepare our nation for any incident or outbreak of this economically devastating disease,” said Senator Chambliss. “I am pleased with the inclusion of this provision in the farm bill. I look forward to working with our partners at the Department of Homeland Security as we bring the vision of NBAF to reality.”

“This new national facility will be dedicated to research on disease detection and countermeasures, and it is extremely important that this includes research to deal with deadly agriculture diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease,” said U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga. “With its world-class USDA research facilities, Georgia is the logical choice to conduct such important research and Senator Chambliss and I are working hard to promote our state’s bid to have NBAF located in Georgia.”

“The new and modern technology of the NBAF must be utilized to protect our food animals,” said David Lee, vice president for research at the University of Georgia. “Safe research and the development of effective counter-measures for this disease are critical to the health and welfare of the domestic herds of cattle, sheep, and swine, and to our agricultural industry, not just in Georgia, but across the country.”

UGA is leading the effort to attract the NBAF to Georgia, which has nationally and internationally recognized resources in infectious disease research, vaccine and diagnostic test development, and food safety. Georgia is one of six sites under consideration.

The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 passed the House and Senate this week and will now be sent to the President.

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