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More agricultural experts at US ports to stop entry of diseases

US President Donald Trump has signed legislation that will help swell the number of US Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) agriculture specialists and technicians, to prevent entry of destructive pests and diseases in a bid to protect America's farming and forestry industries

09 March 2020 - 19:00

US President Donald Trump has signed legislation that will help swell the number of US Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) agriculture specialists and technicians, to prevent entry of destructive pests and diseases in a bid to protect America's farming and forestry industries.

The legislation, 2019 Protecting America's Food and Agriculture Act (S. 2107), authorises CBP to hire and train 240 new agriculture specialists annually for the next three fiscal years.



The agency is also authorised to hire 200 new agriculture technicians, as well as 20 agriculture canine teams, each fiscal year over the same period, reported New York's FreightWaves.



Specifically, the legislation provides US$29.9 million for fiscal year 2020 to hire the first 240 CBP agriculture specialists, followed by $36.1 million and $40.5 million, respectively, for fiscal years 2021 and 2022. For CBP's new agriculture technician hires, the legislation provides $11 million, $25 million, and $38 million, respectively, over the next three fiscal years.



The agriculture canine team budget includes $3.5 million, $7.4 million and $12.2 million, respectively, for fiscal years 2020, 2021 and 2022.



In addition, the legislation includes $6 million annually for training of these new CBP agriculture specialists, technicians and canine teams.



This development comes after a group of 80 trade associations representing the agricultural products industry in January lobbied the Senate and House of Representatives to pass the Protecting America's Food and Agriculture Act to step up the presence of CBP's agriculture specialists at the nation's ports.


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