Opening Statements

Opening Statement: Subcommittee Chairman Davis: Defending American Agriculture Against Foreign Pests and Diseases

Opening Statement: Subcommittee Chairman Rodney Davis Joint Subcommittee Hearing: Defending American Agriculture Against Foreign Pests and Diseases

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Washington, March 15, 2016 | comments
Remarks as prepared:

Good morning. I am pleased to be here alongside my good friend, Representative David Rouzer, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture, for this joint hearing in which we will highlight efforts to defend American agriculture against the introduction of foreign pests and diseases. This hearing is the third in a series of hearings through which the Committee has been examining the significance of agriculture to our nation’s security.

As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture and Research, it has been my honor to host hearings focusing on the extraordinary efforts of industry and academia that have led to the development, production, and marketing of an array of safe, wholesome and affordable food. We have been blessed in this country with abundance, though we recognize that food insecurity is still a very real problem around the world and within our own communities.

My colleagues and I understand the continuing need for federal policies that promote and facilitate global food security for the benefit of our own national security. A significant component of ensuring food security is the capability to defend agricultural enterprises against the persistent threat of pest and disease introductions.

Whether pests and diseases are introduced intentionally or unintentionally, we need to have the systems in place to detect and respond rapidly so that we can effectively control and eradicate these threats. Through the Agricultural Quarantine Inspection Program, jointly operated by USDA and DHS, we have the capacity for inspection, detection and rapid response to pest and disease threats.

Today, we will be examining this program and how our continued investment in such functions is critical to protecting animal and plant health. It is our hope that our colleagues outside this committee understand the real threats we face and why it is so important that we continue to strengthen our investment in our critical agricultural infrastructure.

It is now my pleasure to yield to my subcommittee ranking member, Ms. Delbene.
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