On Wednesday, the USDA announced the initial purchase of vaccines for the National Animal Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Bank. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will invest $27.1 million for foot-and-mouth disease vaccines, which the agency would use in the event of an outbreak.

The vaccine bank was created in the 2018 farm bill. USDA awarded a contract to Boehringer Ingelheim to develop and maintain a strategic reserve of frozen vaccine antigen concentrate that the company could quickly formulate into a vaccine for foot-and-mouth disease.

Agriculture groups welcomed the announcement. National Pork Producers Council President Howard AV Roth said the investment “is momentous, representing years of NPPC advocacy to ensure U.S. agriculture is protected should we have an FMD outbreak.” National Cattlemen’s Beef Association executive director of government affairs, Allison Rivera, said the move is a “promising first step forward to begin the work authorized in the 2018 farm bill,” but adds “more action is needed to strengthen this newly created vaccine bank.”

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