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Opening Statements

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

Opening Statement: Subcommittee Chairman David Rouzer Joint Subcommittee Hearing: Defending American Agriculture Against Foreign Pests and Diseases

Remarks as prepared:

Thank you Chairman Davis. As my colleague has mentioned, this hearing is the third in a series of hearings highlighting the crucial intersection of agriculture and our national security. In our first hearing last November, the full agriculture committee heard from Ambassador John Negroponte and Dr. Tammy Beckam, Dean of the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine, in broad testimony concerning the various threats to agricultural security, as well as the economic significance associated with such threats.

In that first hearing, the Committee’s focus was on how threats to global food security create instability among populations, and how this instability leads to violence and upheaval that ultimately threatens our own national security.

This past month, I hosted the second hearing of this series where we discussed with representatives of academia and the livestock industry, the incredible amount of work done by federal and state agencies and the private sector to defend against foot-and-mouth disease. We also discussed what work still needs to be done to expand our capabilities to deal with this disease should it ever be introduced into our herd.

Today we are honored to be joined by representatives of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection Agriculture Program. Our objective is to take an in-depth look at federal programs intended to defend against the introduction of diseases like foot-and-mouth disease, and what capabilities we have to prevent, control and eradicate diseases should they be introduced.

We face tremendous pest and disease pressures, which are being effectively managed by the hard working men and women of USDA and DHS. Congress has a role to play in ensuring that the agencies have the tools they need to do this important work, so it is important that we hear from those charged with implementing these key programs.

I look forward to today’s conversation, and now yield to the Ranking Member of my subcommittee, Mr. Costa for any remarks he wishes to make.