Farm Bill Impact Series No. Biodefense and Nbaf

Floor Speech

Date: June 16, 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, KS, the home of my alma mater Kansas State University, is also home to 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 protects 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 be conduct comprehensive research, develop vaccines and anti-virals, 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 this 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 world.

The 2018 Farm Bill contained special authorization for biosecurity planning and response, which helped make NBAF possible. That version of the bill explicitly mentioned, ``the coordination of tactical science activities to 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 reauthorize 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 is 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'll 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.