Farm Bill Impact Series

Floor Speech

Date: June 15, 2022
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. MANN. Madam Speaker, in preparation for reauthorizing the farm bill in 2023, I rise today to deliver the eleventh installment of my farm bill impact series, where I am highlighting various aspects of the farm bill that deserve Congress' awareness and support. We need robust biosecurity in America not only because we need to eat in order to survive, but also because strong American agriculture will help keep our country free and self-determining as a Nation.

Manhattan, Kansas, the home of my alma mater, Kansas State University, is also home of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility or NBAF. This state-of-the-art 700,000-square foot facility will be a national asset that helps protect our Nation's agriculture against the threat and potential impact of serious animal diseases. Experts believe that 75 percent of new and emerging infectious animal diseases can be transmitted from animals to humans. NBAF will be home to the only maximum biocontainment space in the country, where USDA will conduct comprehensive research, develop vaccines and antivirals, and explore enhanced diagnostic and training capabilities.

The United States Department of Agriculture is currently working with the Department of Homeland Security to bring NBAF online by December and to begin establishing partnerships between two key sectors heavily invested in animal health: academia and industry. Working with scientists and other industry professionals, NBAF will create new safety and security guidelines that will be critical for the prevention of future pandemics. Currently, scientists are conducting this very important research in New York at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center, which is more than 60 years old. NBAF will replace this aging facility, create 400 local jobs for Kansans, generate over $100 million in total economic benefit for our State, and make Kansas the home of internationally recognized animal disease experts. NBAF isn't just an exciting development for Kansas, it also marks the future of biodefense research that will protect the United States and the rest of the world.

The 2018 farm bill contained special authorization for biosecurity planning and response, which helped make NBAF possible. That version of the farm bill explicitly mentioned the coordination of ``tactical science activities . . . that protect the integrity, reliability, sustainability, and profitability of the food and agricultural system of the United States against biosecurity threats from pests, diseases, contaminants, and disasters.'' NBAF is a concrete example of the impact that we can have when we authorize the farm bill in careful and creative ways.

During National Agriculture Month in March, I brought House Agriculture Committee Republican leader GT Thompson on an ag tour of Kansas, where I was proud to show him NBAF. The technology, scale, and international significance of the facility are truly second to none. Once fully operational in December, NBAF won't just support and protect agriculture; it will protect our country and the world.

I will be back on the floor soon to deliver another installment of my farm bill impact series and highlight more programs and titles within the bill that I believe Congress must understand and support to ensure that agriculture thrives in America. Importance of Livestock Indemnity


Mr. MANN. Madam Speaker, I rise today to follow up on a speech that I gave in March about the importance of the farm bill emergency assistance programs like livestock indemnity.

Agriculture is a risky business, and Mother Nature is a tough business partner. Over the past couple of weeks, Kansas producers have been losing cattle due to extreme temperatures, and qualified producers will be able to recoup some of their losses through the livestock indemnity program.

Just like the flooding and wildfires we saw in Natoma and the surrounding areas last year, this is another example of how essential the farm bill emergency assistance programs are to our country's food supply and the people who produce it.

Emergency programs like livestock indemnity are investments in the future of our country, and they help ensure that America remains food secure and self-determining as a Nation.

Natural disasters, diseases, and weather emergencies happen, and we can't afford to let them cripple the business of the men and women who keep us fed, fueled, and clothed. That is why emergency assistance programs like livestock indemnity must remain strong in the 2023 farm bill.