In a letter to Senate Appropriation Committee leaders, a group of six Democrat senators requested funding to help develop a vaccine to stop the spread of the devastating Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv).
"With PEDv having a near 100% mortality rate for piglets under two weeks old, the economic costs to producers are staggering," the senators wrote. "If PEDv continues to spread at its current rate, many producers could struggle to remain in business. Control of and response to this and other emerging diseases is critical."
The senators said to address the outbreak of this magnitude, “robust funding” needs to be appropriated in FY2015 to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service and the National Institute for Food and Agriculture programs to “to better understand these diseases and to develop a vaccine.” The senators also asked that funding be approved for comprehensive monitoring and surveillance efforts by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
The letter was signed by Sens. Kay Hagan (D., N.C.), Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio), Al Franken (D., Minn.), Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.), Joe Donnelly (D., Ind.) and Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.).
Last month, Hagan and Stabenow, chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, sent a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack urging him to utilize the livestock disaster program that received mandatory funding in the 2014 Farm Bill to help producers harmed by PEDv.