Sen. Katie Britt announced traction on a key legislative package that prioritizes funding for agricultural initiatives integral to Alabama’s economy while tackling enduring threats.
The annual funding bill, steered through the Senate Appropriations Committee, includes strong financial backing to fight Chronic Wasting Disease and sustain the National Feral Swine Damage Management program.
In February, a third case of CWD was confirmed by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources in Lauderdale County in North Alabama. CWD is a lethal neurological disease that affects cervids and, as of now, lacks any known treatment or vaccine.
If left unchecked, the disease threatens to ravage Alabama’s $1.8 billion hunting industry.
The bill’s provisions for feral swine management will also combat the unwelcome pests. Wild pigs are estimated to inflict $50 million in agricultural damage within the state annually.
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The annual Agriculture Appropriations Act determines funding levels for the broad range of programs under the Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, and related agencies..
“This critical funding would grow opportunities for families in Alabama’s rural communities, so that ZIP Code does not define access to the American Dream,” said Britt (R-Montgomery). “Food security is economic security and national security, and I am glad to see important programs prioritized in this bill to safeguard commodities and resources vital to our nation.”
The annual funding bill also reserves substantial funding for rural utilities and rural development programs under the purview of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. These funds aid in the improvement of infrastructure and stimulate economic development in rural communities across Alabama.
“I will continue to fight to ensure that Alabama’s hardworking farmers, ranchers, and cattlemen can feed and clothe our state, country, and world long into the future,” Britt said.
Grayson Everett is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @Grayson270