Legislation to address the shortage of agricultural inspectors at US borders has cleared the House of Representatives. Sen. Gary Peters, a ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, introduced the legislation with US Senators Pat Roberts, Debbie Stabenow and John Cornyn.
Peters said that the Protecting America’s Food & Agriculture Act of 2019 will ensure the safe and secure trade of agricultural goods across our nation’s borders by authorizing US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to hire additional inspectors, support staff and K-9 teams to fully staff America’s airports, seaports and land ports of entry.
“Our country faces a shortage of agricultural inspectors that could leave our agricultural industry vulnerable to diseases, pests and other threats that could devastate our economy and compromise the health and safety of millions of Americans,” Peters said.
Michigan is home to two of the nation’s busiest border crossings — the Detroit-Windsor crossing and the Blue Water Bridge, Peters said. About 300,000 people and $910 million in trade crosses the northern US border daily, representing the largest bilateral flow of goods and people in the world.
CBP and USDA are tasked with facilitating safe and secure importation of agricultural goods into the US The program’s agricultural specialists and K-9 units conduct inspections of passengers, commercial vessels, trucks, aircraft and railcars at US ports of entry to protect health and safety by preventing the entry of harmful goods and invasive species that may pose a threat to American food and agriculture.