The Senate unanimously approved bipartisan legislation introduced by Sens. Gary Peters (D-MI), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and John Cornyn (R-TX) to address the shortage of agricultural inspectors on the nation’s borders.
The bill, called Protecting America’s Food and Agriculture Act of 2019, would hire additional inspectors, support staff, and canine teams to serve America’s airports, seaports and land ports of entry.
“Every day, millions of passengers and tens of thousands of shipping containers carrying food products cross our nation’s borders, any one of which could do significant damage to America’s food supply and agricultural industries,” said Peters.
“I’m pleased the Senate unanimously approved my bipartisan bill to fill this unacceptable security gap, and I look forward to its swift consideration in the House of Representatives.”
The bill authorizes the annual hiring of 240 agricultural specialists and 200 agricultural technicians until the workforce shortage is filled.
The bill also authorizes the training and assignment of 20 new canine teams a year, and supplemental appropriations each year to pay for the employee activities.