Bipartisan Legislation Would Strengthen Security by Hiring Additional Agricultural Inspectors at Ports of Entry.
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, recently introduced bipartisan legislation to address the shortage of agricultural inspectors at the nation’s ports of entry. The Protecting America’s Food & Agriculture Act of 2019 would ensure the safe and secure trade of agricultural goods across our nation’s borders by authorizing U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to hire additional agricultural inspectors to fully staff America’s airports, seaports and land ports of entry. Agricultural inspectors work to protect the nation’s food supply and agricultural industries by preventing the intentional or unintentional entry of harmful plants, food, animals and goods into the United States.
This is the latest in Peters’ ongoing effort to address personnel shortages at ports of entry on the Northern and Southern borders. Earlier this year, the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs unanimously approved Peters’ bill to strengthen border security by hiring hundreds of additional Customs and Border Protection Officers annually, until the agency’s staffing targets are met.
“U.S. Sens. Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow are among a bipartisan group introducing legislation to address the shortage of inspectors who protect our food supply and agricultural industries at the border by preventing the intentional or unintentional entry of harmful plants, food, animals and goods. Joining the two Michigan Democrats are Republican Sens. Pat Roberts from Kansas and John Cornyn from Texas.”…
“‘Michigan Farm Bureau applauds Senators Gary Peters and Pat Roberts for introducing the bill,’ said John Kran, Michigan Farm Bureau’s National Legislative Counsel. ‘Invasive species like spotted wing drosophila and the brown marmorated stink bug are just two examples of non-native pests that have created havoc for Michigan farmers over the last few years. This bill will expand and enhance border inspections and provide farmers with another level of protection from foreign pests that negatively impact both farmers and the consumers they feed.’”
“New legislation looks to put more boots on the ground in an effort to increase domestic food safety; it would fully staff America’s airports, seaports and land ports of entry by authorizing additional agricultural inspectors to prevent the intentional or unintentional entry of harmful plants, food, animals and goods into the U.S.”
“The Protecting America’s Food & Agriculture Act of 2019, introduced by U.S. Sens. Gary Peters (D., Mich.), ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee; Pat Roberts (R., Kan.); John Cornyn (R., Texas), and Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.), authorizes the hiring of 240 agricultural specialists a year until the workforce shortage is filled and 200 agricultural technicians a year to carry out administrative and support functions.”
“Led by Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Gary Peters of Michigan, the Protecting America’s Food and Agriculture Act of 2019 would give the U.S. Customs and Border Protection authority to fully staff ports of entry including air, sea and land ports.”. . .
“Peters says the bill will ensure the safety of the domestic food supply and protect the health and safety of Americans.”…
“President of the National Pork Producers Council David Herring says the legislation will help address current ag inspector shortages and reduce the risk of African Swine Fever and other foreign animal diseases.”
“Sen. Peters said millions of pounds of produce, meat and other agricultural products enter the U.S. every day.”…
“‘Agricultural inspectors are responsible for ensuring these goods move efficiently across our borders while safeguarding against harmful pests, diseases and even potential bioterrorism attacks,’ Peters said in the release. ‘This bill will help ensure we have enough inspectors to secure America’s domestic food supply and agricultural industries and protect the health and safety of people in Michigan and across the country.’”