The House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research and its Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture continued a hearing series last week, highlighting the importance of agricultural policies to protecting U.S. national security.
Witnesses included representatives of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP), speaking on their efforts to minimize the risk U.S. agriculture faces from the potential for pests and diseases to enter the country. Both APHIS and CBP have implemented comprehensive agricultural safeguard systems to protect U.S agriculture from pest and disease risks.
The witnesses stressed the importance of America’s preparedness to react to such a threat, should it be introduced accidentally or with intent.
It was emphasized that, while many in the agricultural sector work hard to ensure that the United States is ready to deal with a crisis, Congress needs to ensure these agencies and others have the tools they need to manage and defend against threats. It is essential to U.S. national security that investments in agricultural infrastructure and preparedness are not only continued but strengthened.