SPEAKERS       CONTENTS       INSERTS    
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2002
2002
THE ADMINISTRATION'S PROPOSED LEGISLATION ON CREATING A DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

HEARING

BEFORE THE

COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

ONE HUNDRED SEVENTH CONGRESS

SECOND SESSION

JUNE 26, 2002

Serial No. 107–18

Printed for the use of the Committee on Agriculture
www.agriculture.house.gov


COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE
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LARRY COMBEST, Texas, Chairman
JOHN A. BOEHNER, Ohio
    Vice Chairman
BOB GOODLATTE, Virginia
RICHARD W. POMBO, California
NICK SMITH, Michigan
TERRY EVERETT, Alabama
FRANK D. LUCAS, Oklahoma
SAXBY CHAMBLISS, Georgia
JERRY MORAN, Kansas
BOB SCHAFFER, Colorado
JOHN R. THUNE, South Dakota
WILLIAM L. JENKINS, Tennessee
JOHN COOKSEY, Louisiana
GIL GUTKNECHT, Minnesota
BOB RILEY, Alabama
MICHAEL K. SIMPSON, Idaho
DOUG OSE, California
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
ERNIE FLETCHER, Kentucky1\
CHARLES W. ''CHIP'' PICKERING, Mississippi
TIMOTHY V. JOHNSON, Illinois
TOM OSBORNE, Nebraska
MIKE PENCE, Indiana
DENNIS R. REHBERG, Montana
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SAM GRAVES, Missouri
ADAM H. PUTNAM, Florida
MARK R. KENNEDY, Minnesota
——— ———
CHARLES W. STENHOLM, Texas,
    Ranking Minority Member
GARY A. CONDIT, California
COLLIN C. PETERSON, Minnesota
CALVIN M. DOOLEY, California
EVA M. CLAYTON, North Carolina
EARL F. HILLIARD, Alabama
TIM HOLDEN, Pennsylvania
SANFORD D. BISHOP, Jr., Georgia
BENNIE G. THOMPSON, Mississippi
JOHN ELIAS BALDACCI, Maine
MARION BERRY, Arkansas
MIKE McINTYRE, North Carolina
BOB ETHERIDGE, North Carolina
LEONARD L. BOSWELL, Iowa
DAVID D. PHELPS, Illinois
KEN LUCAS, Kentucky
MIKE THOMPSON, California
BARON P. HILL, Indiana
JOE BACA, California
RICK LARSEN, Washington
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MIKE ROSS, Arkansas
ANÍBAL ACEVEDO-VILÁ, Puerto Rico
RON KIND, Wisconsin
RONNIE SHOWS, Mississippi

Professional Staff

WILLIAM E. O'CONNER, JR., Staff Director
LANCE KOTSCHWAR, Chief Counsel
STEPHEN HATERIUS, Minority Staff Director
KEITH WILLIAMS, Communications Director

(ii)

1\ Resigned from the committee March 20, 2002

C O N T E N T S

    Baldacci, Hon. John Elias, a Representative in Congress from the State of Maine, prepared statement
    Bishop., Hon. Sanford D., Jr., a Representative in Congress from the State of Georgia, prepared statement
    Combest, Hon. Larry, a Representative in Congress from the State of Texas, opening statement
    Clayton, Hon. Eva M., a Representative in Congress from the State of North Carolina, opening statement
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    Goodlatte, Hon. Bob, a Representative in Congress from the Commonwealth of Virginia, prepared statement
    Larsen, Hon. Rick, a Representative in Congress from the State of Washington, prepared statement
    Lucas, Hon. Frank D., a Representative in Congress from the State of Oklahoma, prepared statement
    Stenholm, Hon. Charles W., a Representative in Congress from the State of Texas, prepared statement

Witnesses
    Corzine, Leon, member, corn board, National Corn Growers Association, on behalf of the National Corn Growers Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, and American Soybean Association
Prepared statement
    Dodson, James F., chairman, Cotton Foundation, National Cotton Council, Robstown, TX
Prepared statement
    Guenther, Robert, vice-president, government and public affairs, United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association, Alexandria, VA
Prepared statement
    Johnson, Roger, commissioner, North Dakota Department of Agriculture, Bismarck, ND
Prepared statement
    McMillan, Bill, president, C.W. McMillan Company, Washington, DC, on behalf of the National Chicken Council and United Egg Producers
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Prepared statement
    Odom, Bob, commissioner, Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, Baton Rouge, LA
Prepared statement
    Phipps, Meg Scott, commissioner, North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Raleigh, NC
Prepared statement
    Schmale, Lin, senior director, government relations, Society of American Florists, Alexandria, VA, on behalf of the American Nursery and Landscape Association
Prepared statement
    Stallman, Bob, president, American Farm Bureau Federation
Prepared statement
    Wilson, Gary, chairman, Cattle Health and Well-Being Committee, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, on behalf of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Pork Producers Council, and American Sheep Industry Association
Prepared statement

Submitted Material
    Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums, statement
    American Civil Liberties Union, statement
    American Turkey Foundation, statement
    Bronson, Charles H., commissioner, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, statement
    Combs, Susan, commissioner, Texas Department of Agriculture, statement
    Cronin, Robert, president, Town & Country Pest Control; Sweeney, Jerry, president, Vanguard Pest Control Company, statement
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    Giddings, L. Val, on behalf of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, statement
     Graves, Leon C., commissioner, Department of Agriculture, Food, and Markets, State of Vermont, statement
    Humane Society of the United States, statement
    Loveland, Valoria H., director, Department of Agriculture, State of Washington, statement
    National Association of Animal Breeders, statement
    National Potato Council, statement
    Pet Food Institute, statement
    Ridge, Hon. Tom, Homeland Security Advisor, letter of June 26, 2002 to Chairman Combest
    Smith, Billy Ray, president, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, statement
THE ADMINISTRATION'S PROPOSED LEGISLATION ON CREATING A DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 26, 2002
House of Representatives,
Committee on Agriculture,
Washington, DC.

    The committee met, pursuant to call, at 10 a.m., in room 1300, Longworth House Office Building, Hon. Larry Combest (chairman of the committee) presiding.
    Present: Representatives Boehner, Goodlatte, Pombo, Lucas of Oklahoma, Moran, Gutknecht, Simpson, Hayes, Johnson, Osborne, Pence, Rehberg, Graves, Putnam, Stenholm, Peterson, Clayton, Holden, Bishop, Baldacci, Berry, McIntyre, Etheridge, Boswell, Phelps, Lucas of Kentucky, Thompson, Hill, Baca, Larsen, and Kind.
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    Staff present: William E. O'Conner, staff director; Pete Thomson, John Goldberg, Elizabeth Parker, Christopher D'Arcy, Brent Gattis, Callista Gingrich, chief clerk; Anne Hazlett, Claire Folbre, Kellie Rogers, Andy Johnson, and Danelle Farmer.

OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. LARRY COMBEST, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF TEXAS

    The CHAIRMAN. The hearing will come to order.
     I would like to thank my colleagues and today's witnesses for their flexibility and hard work in responding to this hearing on such short notice. The President's proposal to create a new Department of Homeland Security is to be refined on a compressed schedule, which will require us to work together closely and under considerable pressure. And, fortunately, our recent experience with the farm bill has prepared us for this challenging condition.
    There should be no mistake about the fact that the members of this committee and all of our constituents are fully committed to the war on terrorism. The creation of a Department of Homeland Security strikes many as a logical step in that effort. Further, given the importance of protecting the production capability of our rural areas, there should certainly be a role for the Department of Agriculture in this new Department.
    The President's proposal would move the entire Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service, known as APHIS, and its approximately 8,700 personnel from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to the Department of Homeland Security. This is a major change that will have major implications for our Nation's agriculture industry. Naturally, it has generated a number of very important questions. I am hopeful that today's testimony will increase the committee's understanding of the role that APHIS has played with respect to production agriculture and bring many of these questions into a sharper focus.
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    The President's proposed legislation would place the activities of APHIS under the direction of an Under Secretary of Border and Transportation Security. Given that APHIS employs approximately 3,900 agriculture quarantine inspectors at 186 ports of entry, working every day to prevent the importation of materials and diseases that pose a threat to livestock and plants, it is easy to see how one might perceive the agency as solely devoted to border protection.
    However, it is important to note that APHIS has a much more complex mission. Monitoring and eradication of plant and animal diseases, wildlife control, facilitating the export of U.S. agricultural commodities, enforcement of animal welfare law, and the negotiation of sanitary and phytosanitary trade agreements are among the complex day-to-day activities of APHIS. For many of us, the border protection function of APHIS is a largely unseen, though vitally important, subset of the agency's contribution to agricultural productivity.
    As we proceed with today's hearing and a potential mark-up, we need to understand how our emergency response capabilities and everyday agency operations would be impacted under such a proposal. We also have a responsibility to explore modifications to the legislation to ensure that its good intentions do not collide with sound public policy.
    I would encourage today's witnesses and the members of this committee to explore these issues without hesitation or concern about others second-guessing our intentions. I have never led this committee on the basis of maintaining jurisdiction or protecting turf, and I see no reason to alter that stance today. However, I want us to review this proposal and make our recommendations solely on the basis of what is best for protecting production agriculture and providing for the security interests of the American citizens.
    I look forward to today's testimony and questions of my colleagues, and would recognize Mr. Stenholm.

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OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. CHARLES W. STENHOLM, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF TEXAS

    Mr. STENHOLM. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you for holding today's hearing to provide a valuable opportunity for us to hear from affected constituencies about the potential impact of the President's proposal to create a new Department of Homeland Security. All of us have been deeply affected by the events of September 11 and the subsequent war on terrorism.
    It is clear to almost everyone that there is a need to better coordinate the efforts of our Government to protect us against threats of terrorists here at home. Within the context of that general consensus, however, we must give serious attention to concerns about the potential effects of the proposal put forward by the President.
    We, as a nation, are faced with the difficult task of enhancing the security of the United States while at the same time ensuring that we do not neglect the traditional duties of the Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service that are vital to our agricultural producers. The reality we face is that even in wartime, the cows must be milked. Today, there are still significant questions that must be considered and answered as we move forward.
    It is our responsibility to give careful consideration to the proposal to move APHIS and the Plum Island Animal Disease Laboratory from the United States Department of Agriculture into the new Department of Homeland Security. It is not clear that such a move of APHIS personnel and responsibilities will have the ultimate effect that I trust the administration and the Congress would desire. I hope that the distinguished panelists gathered today will help us to sort through those potential effects and pitfalls as we work to craft a solid, common-sense proposal.
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    Congress, as a legislative body, is in a very difficult position in trying to ascertain the wisdom of the policies establishing a Department of Homeland Security. Polls indicate the American public greatly supports such a proposition. Unfortunately, recent statements in the press, have intimated that Congress is mostly concerned about protecting their own turf and the agencies and departments that they oversee. I think statements such as this do a disservice to the deliberative role that our Founding Fathers intended for Congress.
    I have many questions in regard to the operation of this new department that have nothing to do with maintaining turf at USDA and everything to do with ensuring that our producers still have a viable inspection system. In any case, a proposal of this magnitude should be vetted thoroughly.
    In closing, I must say that I am very disappointed that no suitable administration official from the Office of Homeland Security chose to be with us today. The administration has given a difficult task to Congress, and this committee in particular, in asking us to so quickly bring about a huge consolidation of far-flung Government agencies.
    There are a number of very important questions that can only be answered by the administration officials with an understanding of how this new department will operate. I regret that those questions will apparently continue to go unanswered. I hope that the absence of administration officials today is not indicative of the level of communication we can expect as this process goes forward.
    Surely it is in the best interest of the American people for us to work cooperatively in crafting a Homeland Security proposal that draws on the wisdom and experience of both the legislative and the executive branches of Government. I hope that is how we will move ahead with this process.
    Again, I thank the chairman for holding this hearing. I look forward to working with him as we all consider together how to increase the security of our Nation's agricultural enterprises and resources.
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    [Mr. Stenholm added for the record:]
    Among other important responsibilities, APHIS is charged with administering and enforcing the Animal Welfare Act which directly and profoundly affects medical research in this country.

    I have been in discussions with the National Association for Biomedical Research (NABR) (which represents this community on animal research issues) and they have expressed concerns that this highly specialized program requires consistency and expertise in the oversight of animal care to ensure that there is public confidence in the biomedical research enterprise. Because this important function is unrelated to the mission of the new Department of Homeland Security, NABR is concerned that the administration and enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act may suffer under this new organizational arrangement.

    The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman, and would indicate for the record that the committee did invite Governor Ridge to testify today, and he was unable to do so.
    And I do share the concerns my friend from Texas mentioned in regard to the fact that we are going to have to hear from the agency that, in fact, would be administering these programs if, in fact, the Congress did comply in such a way as the President requested in his proposed legislation.
    Our first witnesses are at the table. I would like to introduce them, and then I would recognize the gentlewoman from North Carolina for brief comments about one of her fellow North Carolinians.
    Mr. Bob Odom is commissioner of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Mr. Roger Johnson is commissioner of the North Dakota Department of Agriculture from Bismarck, North Dakota. Ms. Meg Scott Phillips is commissioner of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services from Raleigh, North Carolina.
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    Mrs. Clayton.
STATEMENT OF HON. EVA M. CLAYTON, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA

    Mrs. CLAYTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for recognizing me.
    I do want to recognize and acknowledge all of the commissioners here. But I want to make a special recognition of North Carolina's agriculture commissioner, Meg Scott Phillips. I thank you for inviting her.
    The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, any opening statements that Members wish would be included in the record.
    [The prepared statements follow:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF HON. BOB GOODLATTE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
    Thank you Mr. Chairman. I would like to briefly express my thoughts and concerns regarding this matter. I commend the President for his efforts and for taking the lead in making sure the security of this Nation is not jeopardized. The current situation facing the Nation warrants the urgency of the proposed legislation creating a Department of Homeland Security. However, we must ensure that in our haste we do not overlook serious policy implications that would undermine the traditional role of APHIS that is so critical to our agricultural producers.
    The main concern is that APHIS' role of protecting agriculture will be diminished if its authorities are transferred to the Department of Homeland Security. APHIS performs an array of valuable functions, the priority for which may be lessened or relinquished if transferred to the Department of Homeland Security. These tasks include scientific research on plant and animal health issues, protecting the environment, managing wildlife damage, caring for animals, combating pests and diseases, and accrediting of veterinarians. Will these essential functions in place for the well being of agriculture remain of significant importance under the direction of Homeland Security? How does a new Department charged with protecting us from terrorism also protect agricultural interests from gypsy moth infestations, avian influenza, chronic wasting disease, bovine tuberculosis and foot and mouth disease?
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    Right now, APHIS does not have the means to carry out its current purpose. Are we going to add another dimension to its mission and expect it to perform adequately day in and day out? We must make sure that we do not put the wagon ahead of the mule.
    In closing, I hope we will be able to produce sound legislation that addresses these concerns. We must apply good-old-fashioned common sense to this endeavor. We should not lose focus of APHIS' original mission to protect American agriculture, nor should we overlook the potential of terrorist attacks threatening the lives of our citizens. If APHIS must be moved, we must make sure that a balance is struck between our homeland security and the security of our agricultural sector.
PREPARED STATEMENT OF HON. FRANK D. LUCAS, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA
    December 7, 1941 is ''a day that will live in infamy'' and September 11, 2001 may never be adequately described by the written or spoken word.
    Our country's long-standing sense of safety and security was dealt a crushing blow on both of these days. However, the United States has not and will never accept attacks on her soil or against her citizens.
    After September 11, the President moved quickly to find and punish those that would conspire with or support any group engaged in the cowardly murders of children, mothers and fathers. At no time in our Nation's history have we been more shocked, and rarely have we been more determined to root out and eliminate dangers to us and our way of life.
    Just as the United States rebounded from the surprise attack in 1941, we will do so again.
    The President has asked the Congress to create a new Department of Homeland Security because he has recognized that the time for reforming our defense and intelligence strategies is now. The Cold War is over. We no longer look at the Soviet Union as our great foe, but instead will begin to depend on Russia more and more to provide stability in those areas of the world where its sphere of influence is the greatest.
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    The United States' strategy for dealing with one or two major enemies has served us well, but we must recognize that many smaller organizations or rogue states may now represent a greater and more constant danger to us than even some of the most heavily armed countries in the world.
    The task of coordinating and sharing all of the information that we gather with our allies has become a fundamental priority.
    Today we are reviewing a portion of the President's proposal to create a new Department of Homeland Security. The transfer of the Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service's authority to the Department of Homeland Security may seem rather obscure and insignificant to those outside of the agricultural sector. Make no mistake about it. APHIS's responsibilities are not obscure, arcane, or insignificant.
    U.S. exports of agricultural products have in the past and hopefully will in the future attain the $60 billion mark.
    It is through APHIS's work that plants and animals coming into this country are deemed safe and non-threatening to domestic plants and animals. It is also through its work that our exports and the countries receiving them are assured that U.S. products will not cause any harm to its trading partners' food supplies.
    APHIS is committed to its principles of safeguarding resources from exotic invasive pests and diseases, monitoring and managing agricultural pests and diseases existing in the United States, resolving and managing trade issues related to animal or plant health, and ensuring the humane care and treatment of animals.
    I have no doubt that APHIS's employees will continue to do their best no matter if they are working out of the new Department of Homeland Security or the Department of Agriculture. My concern is how high on the list of priorities will APHIS charge be in a new Department of Homeland Security.
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    My State knows how serious an outbreak of karnal bunt can be to the economy. These unintended outbreaks may pale in comparison to one orchestrated by terrorists.
    I want to ensure my state and its agricultural producers that all of APHIS's activities, not just those at the borders, will remain a high priority.
    I look forward to today's testimony and expect to work with the producer groups and the administration to ensure a safe food supply and a safe America.

PREPARED STATEMENT OF HON. RICK LARSEN, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF WASHINGTON

    Mr. Chairman, thank you for holding this hearing on the role the Department of Homeland Security will take in regard to agricultural problems. Agri-Security and protection for America's food supply is vital. I am excited to work with my colleagues as we start to take the first concrete steps toward a comprehensive system to mitigate and eliminate threats to our agricultural system.
    However, I am concerned that the inclusion of APHIS into the Department of Homeland Security may severely detract APHIS from its primary duty of protecting U.S. agriculture from foreign pests and diseases.
     In Washington State, the Washington State Department of Agriculture and APHIS work together to prevent, detect, and eliminate agricultural pests of concern to Washington State and the Nation.
    The citrus longhorned beetle, an insect nearly identical to the Asian longhorned beetle and the gypsy moth are two examples of pests that APHIS is cooperating with the Washington State Department of Agriculture to quarantine and eradicate in western Washington. I am concerned that we will sacrifice these necessary services if APHIS becomes a part of the Department of Homeland Security.
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    Finally, I would like to enter into the record a letter on the importance of APHIS from Valoria Loveland, director of the Washington State Department of Agriculture.
    [The letter appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]

    The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Odom, please begin. And then we will take the testimony from the other commissioners, as introduced.

STATEMENT OF BOB ODOM, COMMISSIONER, LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND FORESTRY

    Mr. ODOM. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee. Thank you for the opportunity to present testimony on the proposed legislation of creating a new Department of Homeland Security and transferring USDA's Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service, known as APHIS, to the new department.
    My name is Bob Odom. I am commissioner of Agriculture & Forestry for the State of Louisiana. And I appear here today on behalf of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture and my fellow commissioners, secretaries and directors across the Nation. We strongly support the efforts of Congress and the administration in decisively and expeditiously strengthening homeland security.
    As partners in the Federal system, State departments of agriculture are keenly aware of the need for an efficient strategy to safeguard the Nation's agricultural production tools, especially food safety and animal and plant health. We agree that a greater coordination and integration among agencies is vital to biosecurity.
    Consolidating and incorporating essential animal and plant inspection activities at our Nation's borders into a new department has been suggested. However, we urge you to fully and carefully examine how this proposal will affect the missions, the tasks, the responsibilities of APHIS functions in all areas.
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    As you know, APHIS is responsible for the safety of the Nation's food supply through animal and plant health protection. APHIS is the lead Federal agency for veterinarian accreditation, domestic and international plant and animal pests and disease, animal welfare and predator control. It is the agency responsible for the protection of plant and animal health through the prevention, early detection, eradication and control of pests and diseases, whether introduced by accident or deliberate act.
    APHIS deals with many pests such as Medfly, the Asian long-horned beetle, and diseases such as BSE, citrus canker, karnal bunt and bovine tuberculosis. These are not basic homeland security issues, and will not receive the necessary emphasis in a homeland security agency.
    It is important to have the ability to distinguish bioterrorist acts from natural outbreaks. We strongly believe that maintaining all Federal duties and responsibilities dealing with animal and plant health issues under one Federal agency is critical for the proper functioning of efficient management of agriculture and provision of a safe food supply.
    There is an excessive and extensive and complex State-Federal cooperative infrastructure currently in place to address animal and plant health matters which would be placed in serious jeopardy by this legislation.
    The backbone of our Nation's animal and plant disease prevention, surveillance and control programs is the cooperative effort between USDA and the State animal and plant agencies. States rely heavily on APHIS's State-Federal additional review and proposals. The placement of APHIS into the Department of Homeland Security will split key agriculture offices between two Federal agencies. The State departments of agriculture provide the frontline—provide the frontline in the defense of agriculture biosecurity. The close association of industry, State agriculture, and USDA promotes enhanced cooperation and efficiency in providing the needs of security.
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    The transfer of APHIS calls into question the ability of the Secretary of Agriculture to assess the necessary professional resources and adequate emergency funds needed to combat plant and animal pests and diseases, whether introduced by accident or deliberate acts.
    We strongly believe that realigning USDA-APHIS activities and resources, as currently proposed, would be counterproductive rather than enhancing biosecurity. This realignment could actually have an unintended consequence of diminishing our biosecurity at the State level, which is our frontline of prevention.
    We believe that cross-utilization, full integration, and coordination of APHIS functions with the Department of Homeland Security through the use of memorandums of understanding, cooperative agreements and prearranged contracts will enhance the United States' ability to protect our food supply more efficiently than transferring of these duties and APHIS to a new agency. The State departments of agriculture strongly encourage you to consider this approach.
    The State departments of agriculture are aware of the vital need to strengthen protection in light of terrorist threats of attack to the United States. We stand ready to work with Congress and the administration to develop an effective strategy to safeguard or to continue to safeguard our agriculture production tools.
    Thank you.
    [The prepared statement of Mr. Odom appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
    The CHAIRMAN. Commissioner Johnson.

STATEMENT OF ROGER JOHNSON, NORTH DAKOTA AGRICULTURE COMMISSIONER

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    Mr. JOHNSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, for holding this hearing. My testimony, I believe you have copies of. I am going to just hit highlights. It is much longer than what I can afford to spend the time reading. There are really six major issues I want to touch on very quickly.
    The first one certainly is, all of us, I think, in this room support the creation of a Department of Homeland Security, and NASDA is no exception with respect to that nor, would I say, would any of the agricultural interests from North Dakota be an exception to that. We strongly support the efforts of this Congress and the administration to decisively and expeditiously strengthen homeland security.
    Second, I want to talk just real briefly about what APHIS does and divide it into three categories that I think are terribly important for the committee to understand as we consider this major change and transfer of duties and responsibilities, as we go about the business of creating a new department.
    APHIS is the agency responsible for the production of plant and animal health, the prevention, early detection, eradication and control of pests and diseases, whether introduced by accident, by nature, or by deliberate act. And I think it is important for us to remember those three divisions, because homeland security, it seems to me, is going to focus principally on the last one, by deliberate act.
    There are substantial risks that have been increasing, as trade has increased, to American agriculture and the protection of plants and animals with respect to agriculture. For the record, I would request that copies of two reports that I cite on page 2 of my testimony be made available to the members of the committee. The NASDA office has these reports; they actually were commissioned through APHIS. One of them was done by the Plant Production Board, the National Plant Board, and the other one was done through the NASDA research arm; and both of them deal with safeguarding and major recommendations on things that we can change within APHIS to make sure that we don't have the kinds of gaps that sometimes exist.
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    Both of them, in fact, were under way well before 9–11. In fact, the animal one came out the following month with just minor revisions. This is an issue NASDA has been concerned about for some time. APHIS deals with many pests that are not basic homeland security issues, and will not likely receive the necessary emphasis in a new agency.
    Third, the APHIS infrastructure we think is in jeopardy with this move, depending on how it is done. The backbone of national animal and plant disease prevention surveillance and control programs is the cooperative effort between USDA, State and State animal and plant agencies. There are, on pages 2 and 3, there are four divisions with respect to APHIS that I would mention very briefly.
    First of all, veterinary services: We cooperate on various State levels very closely with APHIS; and the State veterinarians in North Dakota it is the State board of animal health. We work hand-in-glove on a lot of these animal disease issues, whether they come in from any one of the three venues I have mentioned.
    I would point out that the port of entry at Pembina, ND, is the busiest port in America for the movement of animals into the United States. We deal a lot with disease eradication, with surveillance for both eradicated and foreign animal diseases, disease epidemiology, major trends in agriculture and animal agriculture.
    There is a trade support function, and as I mentioned, close interaction with State officials and industry on all of these issues.
    Wildlife Services is the second area. And the work with Wildlife Services is largely domestic in scope and is largely locally focused. It is not what I would consider a homeland security kind of issue. Much of that is done with cooperative agreements not only with the State, with APHIS, but also with county and city units of government in North Dakota. And so I think we need to be attentive to that. They deal with issues dealing with degradation, crop damage whether by blackbirds or waterfowl, human health and safety issues at airports, trees and roadways from damage by beaver, et cetera.
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    Last year alone in North Dakota over 1,000 predator conflicts and nearly 150 human health issues were specifically dealt with by APHIS. The support role is very important. And with respect to plants, PQ deals with a number of issues, on page 4, dealing with exclusion activities, dealing with pest management activities, with pest detection, and also with agricultural trade.
    On page 5, the vast majority of APHIS programs and services are not directly related to homeland security. Rather, they are integral parts of safeguarding American agriculture. We are concerned that these programs and services may be compromised or possibly eliminated if APHIS is split up or incorporated into another Federal department.
    Very briefly, the fourth point on page 5, moving APHIS, we believe, may in fact diminish biosecurity efforts. The two reports I referred to show—provide a number of recommendations, many of them are under way in terms of being implemented. We are concerned that if we transfer portions of the agency or all of the agency to a new venue, a new department, that many of those recommendations may fall through the cracks, and we may in fact have the unintended consequence of diminishing biosecurity efforts rather than enhancing them.
    Fifth, there is a very close relationship with other USDA agencies that needs to be considered.
    And finally, we need to ensure that we have top-notch surveillance, early detection response and long-term management capabilities in place in order to safeguard agriculture and the environment. These measures need to be in place for the United States regardless of how an organism, disease or threat is introduced, whether naturally, whether purposefully, or whether inadvertently.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    [The prepared statement of Mr. Johnson appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
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    The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Commissioner. Ms. Phipps.

STATEMENT OF MEG SCOTT PHIPPS, COMMISSIONER, NORTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE & CONSUMER SERVICES

    Ms. PHIPPS. Mr. Chairman, thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to be here today. This is really a very important issue to us. And I want to say I also thank the four members of this committee who come from the great State of North Carolina. They are all present and accounted for. I really appreciate that.
    As the chief advocate and spokesperson for North Carolina agriculture, I would be falling short of my duties if I didn't mention that agribusiness is North Carolina's No. 1industry. It does provide $59.2 billion annually to North Carolina's economy and employs more than 20 percent of our work force.
    Within the last 10 years, North Carolina agriculture has transformed into an increasingly livestock-oriented economy with poultry and swine as our leading commodities. On the plant side, tobacco has now fallen behind the nursery industry. Overall, North Carolina ranks third in the country in the diversity in the commodities that we produce.
    Mr. Chairman, when asked whether or not the role of APHIS is important to North Carolina, I must reply, absolutely yes. The primary role of APHIS is to protect the health of the Nation's domestic animal and plant population. The issue of transferring all or part of APHIS from USDA to Homeland Security does raise serious questions for us.
    The primary question is, what will happen to the already forged relationship between the State departments of agriculture and APHIS in the prevention and spread of diseases and pests that affect the animal and plant industries? While the threat of a terrorist attack certainly is very serious, naturally occurring and internationally recognized pests and diseases from everyday commerce could devastate our country's agriculture economy. Internationally and domestically we have seen the negative economic impacts of avian influenza, even in our own State, pseudorabies, karnal bunt, citrus canker, boll weevil, Medfly, gypsy moth, brucellosis, and other plant and animal diseases.
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    Today, a proven relationship between the USDA-APHIS, the State departments of agriculture, the private business sector and the scientific community has been successful in defending our country's agriculture interests.
    However, recent domestic program activities within USDA and APHIS have not been able to meet the needs of 21st century agriculture due to limited resources of staffing and money, and any potential shift of agency components would likely further contribute to the lack of emphasis in the traditional areas. At the present time, individual States do not have the capabilities to fill in these gaps.
    The unique relationship of APHIS with the agriculture community is paramount in order to maintain safe commerce for our agricultural products. It is essential that the current role of APHIS in issuing sanitary and phytosanitary inspection certificates be continued to ensure the quality and the wholesomeness of our agricultural products to our international customers. APHIS also plays a key role of inspecting and working with importers to provide a safety net in preventing the importation of harmful pests and diseases that could devastate our economy here.
    The responsibilities of APHIS, and their cooperators within State agriculture departments, encompass issues more far-reaching than bioterrorism and foreign animal disease. Failure to support these initiatives would jeopardize our Nation's health status and our trade status, and result in severe negative economic impacts.
    I understand the need for reorganization, and I understand how hard it is to do that, trying to keep the turf battles out. In fact, in North Carolina, I have already made this move in the Department of Agriculture.
    In August 2001 I created a Division of Emergency Programs. That was in August. We were looking at the accidental introduction of a foreign animal disease at that time. After September 11, we moved to looking and incorporating into it the intentional introduction of some type of biological agent. It is the lead division for all of our department activities involving foreign animal and plant diseases, terrorism and security. Through its multihazard initiative, it coordinates with our department of health and human services, State emergency management, the SBI, North Carolina National Guard, the U.S. Military, and other allied agencies.
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    However, our State Veterinary Division and the Plant Industry Division, remain separate from the Emergency Programs Division, but they maintain constant communication in working together on the action plans that are put into place. We did not feel the need to incorporate these divisions into the Emergency Programs Division.
    As a suggestion, I do encourage you to establish in the Homeland Security Department a USDA liaison from APHIS, or an APHIS office in the Department of Homeland Security which would coordinate the communication and the coordination and the collaboration that is necessary to achieve national homeland security.
    One option could include the new Department of Homeland Security having its own security officials housed at international points of entry. They would function in close cooperation with the APHIS officials that are already there to ensure that we have the Homeland Security presence.
    Mr. Chairman, it is our position to be supportive of a strong Homeland Security. However, it is also our duty to protect and support a safe national food supply. It is our strong opinion that APHIS should remain in USDA to assure that these vital, traditional support services and programs maintain their focus on U.S. agriculture.
    We also believe that APHIS is already providing a key role in the security of our country, and this role should not be jeopardized. Americans should not be forced to choose between the unsafe or unsanitary food products that may enter into this country from foreign sources. We need APHIS to help us keep that from happening.
    Without a safe and secure supply of food and fiber, the citizens of the United States could find themselves with a significant health risk as great as the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11.
    I want to thank you again for giving us, all three, the opportunity to be here today in representing NASDA. We do think this is a very important issue.
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    [The prepared statement of Ms. Phipps appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]

    The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much.
    One question I want to ask of all of the panels is that, if Governor Ridge were here today, what question would you ask him?
    Ms. PHIPPS. One question would obviously be how would the services of APHIS that we are talking about, through additional services, would they fall on the back burner? Would sources be given to these traditional services, or would they be looking strictly at a terrorist type of generalized, overall security plan that just includes that type of inspection?
    If they take an APHIS inspector, what about FDA inspection programs or FSIS inspection programs? Those agencies coordinate with each other very well now, and we would be interested in knowing what emphasis they would place on these traditional services.
    The CHAIRMAN. I saw some heads agreeing with you.
    Are there additional comments?
    Mr. ODOM. The first question I would ask him is, since State departments are the frontline of defense, how would he interrelate with State departments of agriculture?
    Also, how would he interrelate with all of the other problems that are there that APHIS takes care of that are not part of Homeland Security? That is the big question we have got.
    We are for Homeland Security. We probably do as much in protecting food supply at a State level as anybody. But how then would the Federal agency coordinate and cooperate with us to make sure that that is done?
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    Mr. JOHNSON. Mr. Chairman, the question I would ask is, if APHIS in fact were to move into Homeland Security, would the entire agency move? If so, would it remain intact or would it be split apart? And what then would you do to fill in the gaps created as a result of that sort of a move and change in focus?
    I know you only asked for one question. But I would also ask him to read these two reports and respond as to how he would make sure that the recommendations in these reports were, in fact, considered and implemented, because they very much relate to the health and protection of American agriculture, whether from threats that come from outside of our borders or internally, whether deliberate or unintentional.
    The CHAIRMAN. Would you propose that there might be ways that we might want to look at some kind of reorganization without totally moving the entire APHIS agency?
    I know, Commissioner Phipps, you touched on this somewhat, but could you—could each of you maybe expound on that a little bit?
    Ms. PHIPPS. I will add again to—it is very important to us that there be greater and tighter security at the borders, at the points of entry. We do think, even if APHIS stayed where it was, that we need assistance there in the protection of the entry of animals; whether it be the plants or whether it be seed or whether it be food products, we do need that assistance there. We would appreciate Homeland Security helping out with those efforts at the border.
    And I understand—I really believe that is where the emphasis would be with agriculture in Homeland Security. Again, as we are talking about—would homeland security be looking just at the entry into this country, the imports? APHIS does so much with the exports. So would that be pushed aside? I think having a liaison there in the Department of Homeland Security would be critical, though, to coordinate those efforts.
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    Mr. ODOM. I agree with what you said. I think if you had an office over there, an agency there and had cooperative agreements that were prearranged, already drawn up, that they knew what their responsibility was, to what areas they need to pull, under what conditions. We have to cross-utilize people all of the time at the State level, and we do that. Why shouldn't we do the same thing at the Federal level and have the cooperation agreement set in place?
    We are all for food safety, and let APHIS do the job that they should do.
    One of the important jobs in our State is boll weevil eradication. I mean, this is not a bioterrorist act. This is an insect that we have got to control in the South. So we will continue to do those responsibilities in the agency as it is, but then set up to be in a position to take care of the terrorism if it happens.
    Mr. JOHNSON. Mr. Chairman, all of us, I think, as State commissioners of agriculture, cooperate, often frequently, with other departments on both the State and Federal levels. And, in fact, on the local level, particularly when it comes to dealing with emergencies or disasters or those kinds of things; we do that all of the time. And I think it is important that that sort of cooperation continue to exist.
    That doesn't mean, however, that just because I cooperate with a dozen different agencies when we have a major winter series of snowstorms and a disaster across the State like we had in 1997, that doesn't mean that we should put all of those various agencies under one roof, or under one umbrella.
    It just means that for those purposes you need to make sure that you work together, that have you good communication. And I think that is the concept that really needs to be brought home with Homeland Security. There are vast resources across all agencies of Government. Not all of them, in fact, many of them may not directly relate to Homeland Security, but many of them will at different times.
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    The challenge is, how do you use that expertise without necessarily shuffling all of the chairs?
    The CHAIRMAN. Before I recognize Mr. Stenholm, I will just say there are number of other testimonies that have been submitted in addition to the people here today—some of them are from your colleagues—that range from other commissioners to the Humane Society. And I will correct this for the record, if I am misstating, but in quickly reviewing those, it appears to me that every one of them, they all support the homeland security effort. But they are all opposed to the wholesale movement of APHIS as an entire agency into Homeland Security.
    Mr. Stenholm.
    Mr. STENHOLM. One suggestion has been made, and you touched on it in your answers to the chairman's question, and that is to physically separate the border protection from internal protection.
    Would you comment a little bit further on how—whether you think that might be an approach to be taken or whether that might need some further development? Mr. Odom.
    Mr. ODOM. Border protection is more in line with what I would look at Homeland Security being done, because they are protecting the border. You protect what is coming in. I am not sure that we do a good job in border protection now.
    I can tell you right now in Louisiana, I am dealing with an issue of shrimp and crawfish coming out of China. This ought to be something that—I think that we catch on a Federal basis rather than have to do it on a State-by-State basis. This is what we need probably to do on border control.
    I see Border Patrol as something that could be, if needed to be placed into a homeland security agency, under the jurisdiction of the person that is related to agriculture. But there may be some times where it has to be used locally too. If some particular insect or disease is crossing over, that is not in a homeland security-type of issue.
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    Mr. JOHNSON. It seems to me that the real question we need to focus on here is, are we just concerned about things that enter the country or that damage our economy or our health and welfare that come as a result of deliberate acts from terrorism, or ought we be just as concerned about whatever these pests or diseases are coming in by accident or by acts of nature.
    It seems to me the result in many ways is very similar. I mean, if my State, God forbid, were to have to deal with an incident of foot and mouth disease, the impact, I suspect, would be devastating not only to my State, but to all of yours as well, to our entire country. It really wouldn't matter, in my judgment, whether somebody deliberately planted that or whether it came by inadvertent act.
    Now, I guess it matters in some ways, but in terms of the economic impact, the results are the same; they are devastating.
    And so I think that we have to be very careful about how we divide these duties. And the emphasis that exists at the port, we need to maintain the emphasis on keeping pests, diseases, unwanted things out of the country. We need to make sure that we have continued action to deal with them when they get in the country, to eradicate, to control those kinds of things. Those are not necessarily border actions or nonborder actions; they are just things that need to be done that APHIS right now does.
    I don't know if that helps. But that is kind of how I separate it, at least in my mind.
    Ms. PHIPPS. Mr. Stenholm, I don't want to speak for the sake of talking. But one analysis that I use at home is that when we are talking about the creation of an emergency preparedness division, or in this case a homeland security department, compare it to the emergency room of a hospital. The emergency room is very critical for those patients coming in on an emergency basis. You need quick action, quick response. But you don't shut down one wing of the hospital just because you created an emergency room.
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    And I think that analysis could be used in this situation.
    Mr. STENHOLM. Thank you.
    The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Putnam.
    Mr. PUTNAM. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    I have spent a great deal of time on this issue, in fact, last year filed legislation somewhat relating to the issues surrounding this. But I want to begin with Mr. Odom's remark that we can do a much better job now.
    Every department of agriculture in every State, up until the proposal came from the White House, was very unhappy with APHIS. They are not talking to Customs. They are not talking to Fish & Wildlife. There is not the seamless system at our ports that there should be.
    And now that this proposal has come out, then all of a sudden, APHIS is the best thing since sliced bread. So I just want to follow up, because I don't think that the chairman or the ranking member ever really had their question answered.
    Is there an alternative that you are all for? Other than leaving APHIS completely in USDA, do you support any effort to divide the responsibilities between a border control function and an eradication and control function?
    Mr. ODOM. Let me first answer your first question. I don't know where you got your information, but Louisiana is not that way. We have an APHIS right across the hall from our State veterinarian's office. It has worked together. It has worked together on brucellosis.
    The Plant Division may—they are in a different location and may have a little different circumstances. But they have worked together on the other aspects.
    Food safety has been there. It has always been there. We have never had a problem in food safety, to my knowledge, in my State. So why throw the bear out if you have got a way to fix it?
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    What I am saying is, have better cooperation and coordination between the agencies up here. That is what it seems like to me the problem is, not at the State level.
    Mr. PUTNAM. If you acknowledge that among the arrays of risk in terrorism—one of them is chemical, one is nuclear, one is radiological, and one is biological—how do you exclude a key component of a terror threat from a department that is created to protect the American people from a terror threat, particularly when Americans have been the victims of a biological terror threat with the Rajneeshee cult on salmonella poisoning?
    Mr. ODOM. We deal with food safety every day. Every day we deal with food safety. We are responsible for protecting the safety of the food in the country. We have got the safest food in the world. So if there is not a problem to protecting the food, why go trying to change the problem? Just because it sounds good? I agree with homeland security.
    We need to protect the homeland security of this country, but let's don't create something that is going to be detrimental rather than be advantageous.
    Mr. PUTNAM. I agree with everything that you all have said about APHIS. I don't want the Department of Homeland Security being in charge of the eradication of citrus canker, I don't want the Department of Homeland Security to be chasing Asian long-horned beetles, but I don't see how we, in agriculture, can maintain a logical argument that it makes sense to move the Coast Guard over, it makes sense to have Customs and Fish & Wildlife and INS and immigration and everybody else talking to each other, except us.
    Why would you have a seamless Border Patrol system except agriculture? Defend that for me. Defend that position.
    Mr. ODOM. That is not really what we are saying. We are not taking issue with the other agencies at all. That is not an issue we are taking.
    What we are saying is, if we are going to be the frontline of defense—it looks like the State departments are going to be the frontline of defense, because I don't believe you can hire enough people in Federal agencies to do what they are doing—then we need to have the ability to cooperate and work together. Why don't we do a cooperative agreement? Why do we have to officially make a change? Why don't we do something that is going to be constructive, that is going to provide the security to what we need to do? That is all I am saying.
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    I agree with you. I think we need to protect the people. We need to give them safe food. But I think it is a cheaper and easier and better way to do it than to physically move the total agency, and that—the word I have heard is the ''total agency''; I have not heard anything else but ''total agency.'' .
    And if we are going to do—and protect the food supply, and we are going to do all of the other things that we are going to do, then we need to do it in a cooperative agreement way that—we provide that service; we need to do it in a most expeditious way.
    Mr. JOHNSON. If I could take a quick stab at responding too. I don't know that every State department of agriculture has been very critical of APHIS in the past. We certainly are not saying that that agency or any agency of Government, including our own, is perfect. None of us are.
    In fact, that was the reason for doing a lot of the self-analysis that APHIS has done in close cooperation with many of the stakeholders, including commissioners of agriculture, across the country.
    We have a very close working relationship with APHIS. In fact, in North Dakota we have for the last couple of years been seriously looking at a way of collocating our entire department with the various USDA offices. That doesn't look like it is going to happen for a lot of reasons, most having to do with budget. But we work—the reason we are thinking of that is because we work so closely with them. And we all have border responsibilities, too.
    I mean, we have to issue phytosanitary certificates so our products can move out of this country. We have to make sure that there are the right protections at the border so that new diseases or pests don't enter this country. So both the State and the Federal Government, through APHIS, have those responsibilities.
    I don't think any of us here are qualified to say whether any other agencies ought to go into Homeland Security. I don't know that—that even this committee—I suppose you are going to have to get into that issue at some point. But I suspect your task is to make recommendations on how agriculture should be integrated into Homeland Security. And we all believe it ought to be.
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    We believe it ought to be in a coordinated fashion; we just don't think that you, wholesale, move some agencies in. And you have to be cognizant of the gaps that might be created. If you do that, or if you—if you take parts of APHIS and move them in there, you all are going to have to figure out, well, what happens to the gaps created when that is left behind?
    That is all we are trying to do is raise these issues so you folks can—you can deliberate with the best information possible and try to figure out how to put this new Homeland Security Department together, which we all support.
    Mr. PUTNAM. Except for APHIS. You all support it except.
    Mr. JOHNSON. But we are—I think we have been very clear that we believe there is a role for APHIS in Homeland Security. The role is not dissimilar, in my judgment, of APHIS dealing with Homeland Security than the North Dakota department of agriculture dealing with the division of emergency management when we fight disasters. We cooperate very closely. We periodically do workshops together, so that they can use the expertise that we have, where they need it; and the reverse is also true. That doesn't mean that you roll the agencies together. It means you figure out how to better coordinate.
    You also have a risk when you reshuffle the chairs that something substantial is going to get left behind. And that is what we want you all to be thinking about: What gets left behind, how do you make sure it gets fixed?
    The big challenge you all have is, how do you do this at no net cost? Because I think that is part of the proposal too.
    The CHAIRMAN. Mr. McIntyre.
    Mr. MCINTYRE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am pleased today to have our own commissioner of agriculture, Meg Scott Phipps, from North Carolina with us. And thanks to you and thanks to all of our panel today.
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    Ms. Phipps, as you stated, agriculture has been extremely important, of course, to North Carolina's economy. And you have also mentioned in your testimony on page 3—I think this is important as a follow-up to what was just asked by one of my colleagues—while the threat of a terrorist attack is serious, naturally occurring and internationally recognized pests and diseases from everyday commerce could devastate our country's agricultural economy.
    Could you tell us and give us an example of how this could happen in situations such as you may face in North Carolina, such as with tomato wilt on tobacco or avian influenza in poultry?
    Ms. PHIPPS. Congressman McIntyre, those are two really good examples that we are actually facing right now. Specifically, avian influenza has now affected our trade with Russia and Japan and now Mexico. I don't know that Homeland Security would care so much about low-path avian influenza. They may care about high-path, which becomes a zoonotic disease and may affect humans, the public health.
    But low-path avian influenza, we have been able to contain with our own folks in—our State veterinary division has been able to contain it there.
    Virginia has had to dispose of 4 million birds. USDA-APHIS sent in 200 employees to Virginia who are still there, I understand, working on that problem there.
    Economically, that can effect our No. 2 industry, poultry. We export one-sixth of the poultry to Russia, about $100 million worth of poultry to Russia. When they put the ban on us, that does have a significant effect.
    Now, I don't know that the Department of Homeland Security cares much about that trade issue, but it is very important to us. And we cannot do that monitoring, watch the other States and how they handle it without the regional assistance of USDA-APHIS.
    Tobacco, obviously I don't know that Homeland Security would care too much about tomato wilt on tobacco either.
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    Mr. MCINTYRE. Right, even though your concern—as you state, it would also be the economic security, that it could affect not only farmers, but throughout the economy of the entire region. Is that correct?
    Ms. PHIPPS. Exactly.
    Mr. MCINTYRE. I like your idea about the consideration of the liaison. On page 5 of your testimony you mention communication, coordination and collaboration are necessary to achieve homeland security. And I think the option that you have given us to consider with the liaison is one that we certainly should.
    Of course, there are a whole host of other things that we have to tie into this. But those three ''C'' words are the key. That is really going to make it work, whether it is within the department or whether it is in a liaison capacity.
    So I don't know if you have any further comment on that.
    Ms. PHIPPS. I agree. I think if you can think of that as the USDA liaison office being the rapid response coordinator, that is, who would coordinate the calls that would be coming in from all over, and then work with APHIS, with the folks that are already in place, the procedure that they already have in place, depending upon which type of emergency situation you are dealing with.
    So I think that that type of liaison office would work very well. I can't emphasize enough, it has worked well in our State to the point that yesterday Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld used our emergency program staff here in Washington for training on a national level and complimented the State of North Carolina and our department for the efforts that we have put into place on this very issue.
    Mr. MCINTYRE. Well, our compliments to you, as well, and thank you for your appearance and thanks to our panelists as well.
    The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Pombo.
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    Mr. POMBO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I think this panel did a fantastic job of putting together what their concerns are in their written testimony. I think that most of us on the committee would agree with the concerns that you have raised.
    I will have to say that over the past several years this has been a major concern of mine, in terms of what our border security is. Mr. Peterson, the ranking member on my subcommittee, and myself have had a number of hearings on this. We have spent a great deal of time looking into border security, the ability to control what goes in and goes out of this country. And I can tell you that even though we do have the safest food supply in the world, there is no one that is even close to our ability to ensure a safe food supply for the American consumer, I still believe that we are making mistakes, that there is huge room for improvement.
    There is a definite need for better communication for a seamless border entry system that does a much better job of detecting what is coming in and going out of this country than what we currently have.
    I think the points that Mr. Putnam was raising were extremely relevant. He comes from Florida. I come from California. We both represent States that have a huge amount of produce that goes in and out of the country, livestock that goes in and out of the country; and we have seen for ourselves what some of those gaps are.
    And the State of California works very well with USDA. They have a very good relationship. They do a fantastic job. That does not mean that we can't do better. In this day and age, with the advent of the terrorist threat that has materialized, I think we have no choice but to do a better job than what we are currently doing.
    I felt we needed to do a better job before that happened. But now I believe we no longer have the choice, and I think that the actions that this administration has taken now have put APHIS and its duties and functions on a whole new level.
    Having said that, I will also have to tell you that their—most of the functions of APHIS, most of what it does, I do not believe has any reason to be in Homeland Security; and I believe it would be detrimental to the functions that APHIS is charged with if it were put in Homeland Security. But I do believe that the possibility of taking the border inspection side of it is something that we definitely have to look at, because I believe, on that side, we need to do a better job than what we are doing.
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    I want to—I want to thank this panel for your testimony in answering the questions. At this point, I have no new questions that I can ask of you because you did do a great job of preparing your testimony. And I appreciate your being here.
    And I yield back, Mr. Chairman.
    The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Etheridge.
    Mr. ETHERIDGE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And let me join you in thanking the commissioners for being here today, and specifically our commissioner from North Carolina, Ms. Phipps. She has done an excellent job as commissioner. But she has a right to. She comes from a long line of very capable people who served our State well. Her father and her grandfather were not only governors of our State, but served as a commissioner one time. We are glad to have her.
    And I understand the concerns of transferring APHIS—you have heard that from some of the members already—to Homeland Security. Your testimony, I think, raises some legitimate questions on how such a transfer would impact the current relationship between the Department of Agriculture, APHIS and the various State departments across the country in their working relationship, in the prevention of the spread of disease and pests and how it affects not only our animal sector, but our plant sector, and the movement of animals and food products.
    But, Ms. Phipps, let me ask you, if you will, to provide us—you started a while ago with a few suggestions of how, with some illustrations. For example, I know you started and expounded some on this whole issue of what North Carolina did as related to the concern we had in this country, over a year ago now, with foot and mouth disease and its potential impact on the industry in North Carolina, which is one of our largest revenue-producing industries in the State. And that is really a concern whether it comes from intentional or accidental or foreign intervention.
    But also, at the same time, talking about some of those issues that we have dealt with for several years and had a significant amount of success with in North Carolina, that has allowed us to increase our production of cotton as it relates to the boll weevil eradication program, another program that is entirely different than what we have been talking about.
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    If you would, talk about that for a minute.
    Ms. PHIPPS. As Congressman Etheridge knows, in March of last year, we were faced with a very real threat of foot and mouth disease in North Carolina and had to act very quickly. I had only been in office 3 months, so we were a little bit overwhelmed there. And I will have to commend the Congressman here for helping us in acting quickly.
    But we were dealing with an accidental, the thought of an accidental introduction of that disease. And I am sorry that Mr. Putnam has gone, because we too agreed that our efforts with APHIS have been extraordinary. But in the beginning, we had some concerns about the reaction time of APHIS to an emergency situation.
    And I think they have had that same problem in Virginia with avian influenza.
    We did what we could at the State level. We started an action, put into place emergency programs, an action plan, coordinated with the other agencies that were involved in this kind of activity, with the emergency management. And then, when it came to September 11, we had to look at the intentional introduction.
    You are right. There are a lot of other diseases, plant pests, that are of real concern to us in agriculture. And in agriculture, those things are our war. Those are the things that we have to be concerned about on a daily basis.
    You think about cantaloupes coming in from Mexico that have salmonella on the outside of the cantaloupe; they end up in our supermarkets. These are the things that we care about, but—we would be concerned, but a Department of Homeland Security may not care about.
    If the issue came in to the Department of Homeland Security, it should be—once determined not being an intentional introduction of some type of biological agent—it should be an APHIS problem to handle. The same thing would happen in our department; if we were concerned about foot and mouth, but it turned out to be some other type of disease, then just the veterinary division would handle it with the services and staff that they already have in place.
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    I think that type of system could work very well here without creating a new bureaucracy of agriculture in the Department of Homeland Security or without taking away from the traditional services that we need for those plant pests and diseases.
    Mr. ETHERIDGE. Thank you. And I would hope that not only you three, but the other commissioners would take a look. The real concern that I, as a Member, and other Members have is this issue of the border and our border inspection, I think currently. And we have on this committee—certainly I have—raised the issue, on a number of occasions, of our ability to inspect at the border.
     And we hope you have some extensive suggestions to this committee as we move on this issue. I think that one area where it is split is an area where hopefully we can work together to come up with an answer that I really don't think we have good answers for right now.
    Ms. PHIPPS. Thank you.
    Mr. ETHERIDGE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Gutknecht.
    Mr. GUTKNECHT. I want to come back to something Ms. Phipps just raised and that is—and I am drawn into this discussion and I find myself more in agreement with Mr. Putnam—that as of a few months ago an awful lot of people were upset with the way this thing was being run and now all of a sudden people want to keep it. I am afraid that that is going to be the issue that we are going to deal with throughout the whole gamut of issues that are related to bringing this together in one Department of Homeland Security.
    But I want to come back to something you just mentioned. That is that I have already learned a lot more than I really wanted to know about the FDA and how much comes into this country every day. Millions of pounds of food come into the United States every day. Everything from blackberries to pork bellies. And there is very little inspection. And it is interesting that our own FDA has put a wall around this country as it relates to prescription drugs. So, oh, no, we don't want you to take any Claritin that might come in from Germany, but they have—there is almost no inspection—I mean, most Americans are surprised. You mention the issue of foodborne pathogens, it is my understanding by their own studies 2 percent of the fruit and produce that comes into the United States is contaminated with some form of pathogen. What are we doing about that now?
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    Ms. PHIPPS. That is one of the, obviously, major concerns. You do think about the FDA side of this. In other words, in the Department of Homeland Security the inspection services under FDA are not, I don't think, being thought of as moved over to Homeland Security.
    Another example that we had recently at a meeting was the commissioner from Oklahoma brought in canned food products that were on his shelves in the stores of Oklahoma that were—contained meat byproducts from foot-and-mouth disease countries. His inspectors, his State food inspectors detected those by looking at the labels. What is the answer to that? I think that is a tremendous task, obviously, to inspect every food product that comes in from other countries. But obviously it is a very critical issue with the new emerging diseases that we do have now. We obviously do have a safe and wholesome food supply. I don't know how much longer we can brag about that in America.
    Mr. GUTKNECHT. Well, I just really am upset right now with the FDA because I have with me some drugs that came in from Germany. Now this is illegal contraband. Claritin sells in the United States for $64.97. In Germany the same drug sells for $13.97 American. Zocor sells for $45 in the United States. In Germany it is $13.94. Same drug. It is written in German, but same package.
    I submit that it is much more likely that in fact we know from absolute facts that more people have become ill and died from food coming into this country than have with legal drugs coming in from other countries. And so we are going to have a very heated debate in the next several days in this Congress as to whether or not Americans ought to have access from prescription drugs from other countries the same way we have access to food. There is nothing to stop blueberries from coming in, pork bellies. We all know that trichinosis can be a much more serious disease than anything of taking Zocor in the wrong dosage. So we are going to have a heated debate. I think the FDA has to be part of that heated debate.
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    Thank you very much.
    The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Bishop.
    Mr. BISHOP. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Let me thank the witnesses for coming and for your contribution to this very, very critical debate. I associate myself with the remarks of all of my colleagues and, of course, with all of you. I am just very, very concerned. I was in Mexico 3 days after the tainted strawberries were discovered to have come in to Michigan and to Georgia, and was on the border there with this committee at Laredo and Nuevo Laredo watching the trucks come across with produce and noting the inability of our inspectors to really examine what was coming in and out. It seemed at the time we were very, very focused on unintentional introduction of pathogens and contamination to our food supply and now, of course, it is not just that, but it is on the intentional acts of a terrorist.
    I am concerned and I don't know how this reorganization would effectively address the problem. It seems to me that the problem that we have is one of resources and personnel and equipment and adequate attention given to the work that APHIS and the other border security agencies are trying to do with limited resources. And it seems to me that if there is any vulnerability that we have, it is not so much who has a responsibility—and, of course, clearly APHIS now has the experience and institution of knowledge. How to deal with these things. The question is how do we get the resources allocated to do what is necessary to adequately scrutinize the food and fiber that is brought into our borders.
    So I appreciate all of your comments and I appreciate the possible detrimental effects that moving APHIS could have to all of our other agricultural interests, but in terms of Homeland Security—I sit on the Intelligence Committee. I just wonder how we can ever attempt to get our arms around this kind of problem without just grabbing the bull by the horns and saying we need more resources and we need to be committed to providing whatever resources it takes to provide that safety inspection that has to be done. I don't know that, and maybe the three of you can answer, is there one particular aspect of APHIS that could either be moved permanently or could be colocated at least on a cooperative liaison basis, one aspect of it as opposed to the whole agency? Would that be more—in the event a decision was made that we have got to do something in terms of putting a part of APHIS into the Homeland Security agency, can you respond to that?
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    Mr. JOHNSON. Mr. Chairman, Congressman, there are a lot of issues that you raised there. I think APHIS in many, many cases is already colocated at the borders.
    Mr. BISHOP. I mean in the agency, the chain of command, the line of authority. I know that you actually are colocated in terms of on site at the border. I meant in terms of colocation within the Homeland Security agency itself, whatever that hierarchy is in terms of chain of command and organizational structure and budgeting and all of that.
    Mr. JOHNSON. Who is in charge of what kinds of questions I think are going to be difficult ones for you all to grapple with. Let me make a point here or underscore a point that I think has been made before. I don't think there is anyone on this panel or in NASDA who doesn't believe that we need more border inspection. We need to do a better job across all agencies. This isn't just a Homeland Security issue, this is across all issues, food safety issues. There needs to be a lot more border inspection.
    The real question is how do you get that with this proposal by taking an agency out of USDA, moving them to the border, spending no more money on anything, at least that is the way I have been advised that this is planned, and at the same time not dropping a whole bunch of absolutely essential functions that we have been spending the morning talking about? That is the question.
    Mr. BISHOP. Is it possible?
    Mr. JOHNSON. I don't think so. I mean you can't take them all away and give them all new jobs and expect them to do their old jobs at the same time. It doesn't work that way in my State.
    Mr. ODOM. One of the other things, too, we need to look at, our treaties have so much to do with what comes in here and what we ship out. That has to be integrated as a part of it. I don't want to get into this, but I can't ship meat across my State line if it is State-inspected but another country can ship it in and become a part of USDA. That doesn't make sense because of the treaty.
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    Mr. BISHOP. You are absolutely right. I agree with you.
    Mr. ODOM. And what I am trying to say entails a lot of things except just somebody at a border looking at a product that is coming in.
    Mr. BISHOP. And having a different boss.
    Mr. ODOM. Yes.
    The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Phelps.
    Mr. PHELPS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Again I add to the other comments. I commend all of the panels for their information that is very critical for to us make decisions. Like many things presented in Government at the Government level, the concepts of improvement are very enticing for us and puts us in very difficult positions when people are presented with concepts, and the devil is in the details. So that is our job to sift it out.
    I am not sure I have anything new other than to express some frustration from the standpoint of after having served in the State legislature and at the local level knowing where most of the real genuine work is done, and yet a lot of the other credit is taken in different levels, but I guess I have seen too many movies, according to my wife, you have seen these movies where the FBI comes in and there is an incident situation that has occurred and the local sheriff is made to look like an idiot, although he knows everybody in the town by first name and all this, and has good reason to get to the bottom of what happened, and the FBI comes in and says you are relieved of your jurisdiction, your authority, because we are going to save the world.
    And I think we see some of that in this scenario, at least in my mind, because I don't think we should go without recognizing how well your agency has worked within an overall context without a whole lot of stress on real effective communication that has probably been achieved, anyway, because of good people being involved. I think that is what the core, the essence of this whole thing is. Are we going to get enough cooperation to the people that are involved? No matter what kind of network we create, it all boils down to the people. I think we see this in the FBI incident of the September 11 report, why that information didn't get from the person who recognized maybe some message that might have made some difference, we don't know.
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    So I guess my question is do you feel like that even USDA now with the scare of the hoof-and-mouth disease that we had a year or so ago, that you mentioned that started in Europe, did we have a good effective response? Was there a good enough communication? Because, seemingly we contained it.
    And then the question is do we create an agency within an agency, or without being in an agency such as this move that is being proposed, can we distinguish the difference between deliberate action and accidental? And if we do, once we do, does that mean we create an agency to deal with those differences? I don't know. Do you think the record of performance from even a department little known in your agency on the local level has been good enough in communication, even though nothing has changed?
    Mr. ODOM. I don't think we have it good enough. I think we can always improve. But at least the structure is set there for to us improve with.
    Mr. PHELPS. I am talking about the incident just for the hoof-and-mouth disease. It was successful.
    Mr. ODOM. It was successful, yes.
    Mr. PHELPS. I guess that was a combination of the local sheriff and Federal Government coming in as cooperative people.
    Mr. ODOM. It was a coordination of commercial agriculture, USDA and all the officials working together.
    Mr. PHELPS. So if that worked, my question is this concept that sounds good, as a Member of Congress, before I make a decision how I am going to land on this, what do we do different to make things even better than beyond whatever worked, anyway?
    Mr. ODOM. We agree. We agree. I agree totally. If it works, all you need to do is put your effort into improving it rather than destroying it and trying to recreate it.
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    Mr. PHELPS. I don't know if we ever got a final report, Mr. Chairman. Maybe some of you are privy to this information, that after September 11 I think we are looking at things that might have happened in the past even with a different eye, examining eye. Was the hoof-and-mouth disease or the mad cow disease in Europe, is that deliberative or is that accidental? Were terrorists at move in the background? Are we just now—I don't know if we can ever confirm it. I am not satisfied because now I am paranoid like the rest of America is. So I think we should ask those questions, and anything we can do to improve that kind of examination, whether or not it steps on somebody's ego or turf or whatever is immaterial to me. Because I know the bottom line is this, let me finish this, it is a matter of money. We can throw all these good ideas out here and say this is what we need to save the day and be better, but if we don't have the resources to work with it, and contemplating a debt ceiling increase doesn't show we are going to be very capable to do that.
    Mr. ODOM. Let me respond to something, and you are right on target. The thing I would just hope that we don't lose this sight on money and what we need to do. We have done our job in providing an abundant supply of food and fiber. We can't lose sight of having been able to do that. I don't care how safe the food is, if you don't have it to eat, you are going to die, anyhow. So we need to make sure we don't lose sight.
    The CHAIRMAN. Commissioners, I would like to thank you very much for your attendance this morning. I would invite you to, as we are proceeding in this and moving forward, to continue to give us your wisdom and input.
    Now I would like to invite our second panel of witnesses to come to the table. Mr. Bob Stallman, president of American Farm Bureau Federation of Washington DC; Mr. Gary Wilson, chairman of the Cattle Health and Well-Being Committee of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association from New Concord, OH, who is testifying on behalf of NCBA, National Pork Producers Council, and the American Sheep Industry Association. In addition, Mr. Wilson is being accompanied by Mr. Orwick, executive director of American Sheep Industry Association of Englewood, CO. Also invited to the table with panel 2 is Mr. Bill McMillan, president C.W. McMillan Company of Washington, on behalf of the National Chicken Council and United Egg Producers.
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    We will begin with Mr. Stallman and take the testimony in the order of introductions. Mr. Stallman.

STATEMENT OF BOB STALLMAN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION, WASHINGTON, DC

    Mr. STALLMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Stenholm, members of the committee. I am Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, which represents more than 5.1 million member families in the United States and Puerto Rico. The Farm Bureau certainly appreciates this opportunity to appear before the House Agriculture Committee regarding the President's initiative to create a Department of Homeland Security. This issue is extremely important and must be properly deliberated, debated, and analyzed by the numerous stakeholders.
    We commend President Bush for his leadership on the issue of Homeland Security over the past 9 months and Governor Ridge for coordinating actions with the Federal departments and agencies to protect the United States from future terrorist attacks. AFBF supports the mission of the proposed Homeland Security department. The need to protect and reduce the vulnerability of the United States to terrorism and to assist in the recovery from terrorist attacks are goals that are vitally important to agriculture.
    Since the business of agriculture is to help ensure that every American has an abundant and safe food supply, the U.S. Government must take steps to minimize or prevent terrorist activities that may be directed toward American agriculture.
    The Department of Homeland Security proposal includes the transfer of Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, known as APHIS, from the Department of Agriculture. The Farm Bureau supports moving the portion of APHIS that administers laws relating to border protection activities to the new Department of Homeland Security. Utilizing these services to watch for intentional introductions of plant or animal diseases serves as an invaluable function in protecting our food production system. The economic damage caused by contagious disease introduction could cost billions of dollars.
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    The Farm Bureau is concerned that an agency whose primary function is to deal with terrorist activities might not employ adequate resources or funding on many of the other functions that are currently under APHIS jurisdiction. Since no new funding is anticipated for the Department of Homeland Security, we are concerned that funding for functions other than those that truly relate to Homeland Security would be severely curtailed. The domestic programs now in place at APHIS are of vital importance to agriculture. By transferring all of APHIS to the new department of Homeland Security, valuable programs would likely disappear or diminish. AFBF has worked diligently over the past several decades to help develop many of these programs to assist today's producers with a variety of production issues. To see these programs face possible reduction or extinction is not good policy either for the government or for agricultural producers. AFBF believes that careful additional consideration should occur before all of the APHIS functions are transferred to the new department. APHIS is a large agency with a well-established and recognized responsibility in protecting agriculture from established and emerging diseases and pests. These programs do not fit within the stated function of the new agency which we understand is to protect from and respond to terrorist acts. Very few disease problems or responses have been due to terrorist activity. The vast majority of the problems which agriculture faces today and with which APHIS presently deals are unintentional introductions and outbreaks of plant and animal diseases. APHIS has jurisdiction over numerous other programs, such as predator control, trade issues related to animal and plant health, the humane care and treatment of animals, veterinary certification, brucellosis, Johne's disease, karnal bunt, citrus canker, trade-related issues with biotech crops and wildlife services, among others.
    APHIS also provides a trade support mechanism to safeguard agricultural products against harmful foreign pests and diseases. As other countries are improving their agricultural trade programs, the United States could be in this instance disassembling and then possibly having to try to rebuild a system that is already the envy of the world. This could cost us our place as a major agriculture exporter and supplier of the safest food products in the world.
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    Farm Bureau, along with other agricultural organizations, has prepared numerous questions on funding and operation of current programs within APHIS which may not meet the goals of the proposed department. To date, we have not had any clear responses on those questions from the administration. We do hope to have the opportunity to discuss these questions and concerns with the administration and Congress prior to the approval of a new department, which may include some of the non-Homeland Security programs. The creation of a new Federal agency is a monumental task. As with any such venture, the law of unintended consequences may apply. We want to ensure that such a creation will not weaken or destroy an integrated system that is quietly and efficiently working.
    Farm Bureau looks forward to working with Congress and the administration on this monumental task and continuing the work of protecting our nation's food supply.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    [The prepared statement of Mr. Stallman appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
    The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mr. Stallman.
    Mr. Wilson.

STATEMENT OF GARY WILSON, CHAIRMAN, CATTLE HEALTH AND WELL-BEING COMMITTEE, NATIONAL CATTLEMEN'S BEEF ASSOCIATION, ON BEHALF OF NATIONAL CATTLEMEN'S BEEF ASSOCIATION, NATIONAL PORK PRODUCERS COUNCIL, AND AMERICAN SHEEP INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION; ACCOMPANIED BY PETER ORWICK, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AMERICAN SHEEP INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION, ENGLEWOOD, CO

    Mr. WILSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee. I am Gary Wilson, a cow-calf producer from Concord, OH, and also serve as chairman of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, Cattle Health and Well-Being Committee for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. I wanted to thank you for the opportunity to testify on the President's proposal to create a Department of Homeland Security. I do so on behalf of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, the National Pork Producers Council and the American Sheep Industry Association.
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    This hearing is important, and we are glad to be able to participate.
    The President's proposal to create a Department of Homeland Security is commendable. We support the efforts to better streamline the work currently being conducted by many different agencies to protect America from those who wish to cause intentional harm. We are also pleased with the fact that the threats to the agricultural sector are included in this proposal. Animal agriculture has fought for many years to raise the awareness that we are vulnerable to the introduction of foreign pests and diseases that could devastate our industries and the food supply. Therefore, we want to publicly express our appreciation to President Bush for recognizing agriculture as a key element of national security.
    It would be very easy for our associations to stand here today and say no to this proposal. It would also be very easy for to us say yes to this proposal, or portions of it. However, at this time we have numerous questions we feel need to be addressed and answered by the White House and Congress before we can make an educated decision on what is best to ensure the continued protection of American agriculture. These questions are attached to our testimony.
    At this time I would like to take this opportunity to share with you our perspective over 100 years of experience in working closely with the USDA, State animal health officials, veterinarians, and animal scientists to prevent the introduction and spread of new and foreign animal diseases into the United States and control and eradicate animal diseases and pests already present in this country.
    In the last 100 years we have created a series of formidable barriers to the introduction of animal disease. As a result of these systems, while foot-and-mouth disease was found in all but two continents, North America and Australia, we have been free of this disease for over 70 years. The barriers we have put in place are designed to be science-based and measured according to risk. They include the following components:
    One, intelligence information from around the world and from the Office of International Epizootics is used to develop a list of countries, diseases, and the products, articles or animal movements that must be controlled to prevent the introduction into the United States.
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    Two, the USDA, in concert with the Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Customs Service, uses this information to place import restrictions as to which products are prohibited from being exported to the United States.
    Three, the USDA, Customs and FDA then play an active role at our ports of entry to assure said products, articles or animals indeed are kept out of the United States. This is viewed as our first line of defense or first firewall, one of the most important in preventing a disease outbreak.
    Four, inside the boundaries of the United States, USDA-APHIS cooperates with State animal health officials and FDA to provide a second firewall in case products, articles or animals escape detection at the borders or ports of entry. This State and Federal cooperation is our second firewall guarding against foreign animal diseases.
    The third firewall is biosecurity at the farm and ranch level, including quick identification of diseases.
    Last but not least, agencies working in cooperation with animal agriculture have designed an aggressive control and eradication program system in the unlikely event a disease outbreak occurs.
    Regardless of how the Department of Homeland Security is designed, we firmly believe that this science and risk-based process of determining and guarding against threats with a multiple series of firewalls will be the basis for our continued success. These must be the guiding principle. Our vision of the Department of Homeland Security's role is to ensure the potentially dangerous people, products, articles, animals, et cetera, do not enter the Untied States. Quite simply, if they can't get in, they can't do harm.
    In this regard, we can see a role for a single agency or department held responsible to keep our borders safe and impenetrable. There is merit in consolidation of agency efforts, especially those that will ensure we have a 21st century strategy in place at our ports and portals of entry in the United States.
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    As an example, during the most recent foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in the United Kingdom, we met several times with USDA-APHIS and Customs Service to ensure that they were doing everything they could to prevent the introduction of this disease.
    Additionally, both APHIS and Customs officials recognize the computer systems and communications were not what they should be and that action must be taken. During these meetings and others over time, it has always come to our mind as to the necessity of four Federal agencies, INS, Customs, FDA, and USDA-APHIS working at our ports of entries. But at the same time we have concerns that many portals of entry, such as overnight shipping destinations from all over the world, remain relatively unprotected.
    As part of our evaluation, we have discussed a model in which we see a well-funded USDA-APHIS being a vital partner with the new Department of Homeland Security. In this model the USDA-APHIS would contribute their capacity to scan the globe for disease threats, provide real-time dynamic information and direct the ports of entry as to what to prohibit.
    It would seem the human intelligence community and related agencies would play a comparable role in providing information to the Department of Homeland Security as to what people or other products or articles represent threats.
    While we do see merit in consolidation of efforts, the current proposal to incorporate all APHIS functions in the Department of Homeland Security raises many questions and concerns. There are many functions of APHIS critical to the future competitiveness of agriculture in the United States. Farmers and ranchers have developed a very good working relationship with APHIS to meet mutual animal health goals, and this must not be overlooked as discussions continue on the architecture of the Department of Homeland Security.
    There are several components in the consolidation effort that concern us and we believe may not be coherent in the context of a single department. They include the development of diagnostic tools for monitoring, surveillance, control and eradication of domestic disease in the United States, the detection of exotic or emerging or new diseases, the certification of exports, descriptive studies of current animal production practices, sanitary, phytosanitary standards and associated international trade efforts and negotiations.
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    This is a brief summary of our thoughts. We are very supportive of this process and of continuing this dialogue. We greatly appreciate the opportunity to discuss this issue of importance to all Americans. We look forward to working closely with you and the Department of Homeland Security as designed. The attached questions provide additional perspective on our concerns.
    Thank you again for this opportunity.
    [The prepared statement of Mr. Wilson appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]

    The CHAIRMAN. Mr. McMillan.

STATEMENT OF C.W. McMILLAN, PRESIDENT, C.W. McMILLAN COMPANY, WASHINGTON, DC, ON BEHALF OF NATIONAL CHICKEN COUNCIL AND UNITED EGG PRODUCERS
    Mr. MCMILLAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Today I appear on behalf of the National Chicken Council and the United Egg Producers. You have got a copy of the statement which I assume will appear in its entirety in the hearing record. But also I would like to mention that the National Turkey Federation, although not appearing today, is going to submit testimony which will more or less parallel, I understand, that which I am delivering today.
    In way of background, between 1981 and 1985, I served as Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Inspection Service. That office included the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, among others, reporting to it for policy decisions and the like. I can tell you that having been there and done that, the agency is an extremely complex agency dealing with things that already have been mentioned that are really somewhat unrelated, if not totally unrelated, to homeland security. Things like animal welfare, for example, that deals with the humane treatment of livestock, even pets, the matter of zoos and how animals are treated in zoos, the Office of Biotechnology which maintains a great liaison between the ARS and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. But what I want to emphasize is that APHIS is a really strongly integrated agency, an independent agency, if you please, between the plant protection and quarantine services and the veterinary services in all of their efforts in trying to take care not only of prevention of any foreign animal disease or plant pests from entering the United States, but also to take care of problems that relate to domestic issues. And even though most of the APHIS activities are involved in service to agriculture and have little or nothing to do with homeland security as we understand it, these functions, we believe, should remain within the department that is the most oriented to agriculture, and that is the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
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    Let me cite one illustration and why it is so important, because related to this is the question of the interrelationship and the interdependence and the solid cooperation between the States with the Federal Government and industry, and that is the current effort to eradicate low-pathogenic avian influenza that is going on in Virginia. A part of this involves indemnification.
    It was my experience while at the Department and also in other places in my career that you don't succeed in many programs without some form of indemnification as a part of that eradication effort. And within the structure of the Department of Agriculture and with the assistance and with the cooperation of the Office of Management and Budget, the Secretary of Agriculture can draw upon Commodity Credit Corporation funds from time to time for emergency situations that can be used for indemnification purposes when eradication programs are in effect. I worry about whether that indemnification money will get lost in the shuffle should the agency transfer to the new Department of Homeland Security.
    Now, in sum, in dealing with a problem such as AI, as I cited earlier, APHIS has to deal with the States and with foreign governments. And these foreign governments are critical because you have such an important element of foreign trade involved. In 2001, for example, $2 billion, that is with a B, $2.3 billion of exports took place of chicken, turkey, eggs and egg products. This goes with a lot of agreements that exist with countries involving APHIS so that certification that there is no disease present in that which is being exported takes place. So trade and also the interrelationship of that trade with other agencies within the Department of Agriculture, the Food Safety Inspection Service, the Foreign Agricultural Service, the GIPSA, the Grade Inspection and Package and Stockyards are critical.
    I think a lot would be lost if the agency were transferred in toto to the Department of Homeland Security largely because there would not be that expertise present at the Cabinet and the subcabinet level which can deal with these issues as they arise.
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    In short, we agree that some of the border functions provided by APHIS should be made immediately available to the new Department of Homeland Security where those functions can be coordinated with the Immigration and Naturalization Service or the Customs Service. There are many intragovernmental mechanisms through which assignment or even partial transfer of expertise and resources can readily be accomplished without necessarily altering a well-established and still essential regulatory structure.
    We do support the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security. We respectfully recommend, however, that the critical, traditional, nonsecurity-related missions of APHIS should be preserved by retaining these functions within USDA. Thank you for your consideration.
    [The prepared statement of Mr. McMillan appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
    The CHAIRMAN. Thank you all very much. That was a very good list of questions. There are a number of those we are pursuing ourselves. I wish I could say that if the committee sent that list that it would get responded to before this bill is signed into law. I am not for sure that it would. But we are, and through discussions that we are having and attempting to have, those questions will continue to be asked.
    Mr. Stenholm.
    Mr. STENHOLM. Mr. McMillan, you kind of summarized in your prepared statement a sentence or two, what you said on page 3. ''We believe it is appropriate for the border protection activities of APHIS to be made available to the new Department of Homeland Security, perhaps by assignment, memorandum of agreement, or even partial transfer.'' But you came down very strongly opposed to doing what the President has recommended and that is physically taking APHIS out of Agriculture in its entirety. You stated that, and I believe every witness we have heard thus far has stated that.
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    Am I wrong in that interpretation, Mr. Stallman?
    Mr. STALLMAN. Without sufficient answers to those 50 or 60 questions that we have concerns with, I would suggest that we have to oppose it. We wanted to give the benefit of the doubt, at least initially, with this proposal until we had an opportunity to see how these functions would be carried out, what kind of priorities they would have, the non-Homeland Security functions, and frankly we don't have a clear understanding of that. And until that happens, I don't think we would have any choice but to oppose the wholesale removal of APHIS from USDA and put into the Department of Homeland Security.
    Mr. STENHOLM. Mr. Wilson.
    Mr. WILSON. Your interpretation of our comments is correct in that we feel there is room for improvement, and if there is an opportunity for coordination and improved communication, then we would gladly support that. To move the whole agency under Homeland Security, we have a number of concerns and question the feasibility in doing that.
    Mr. STENHOLM. Mr. McMillan, any further comment?
    Mr. MCMILLAN. No. I would agree with everything that has been said. But to add to it, in drawing upon my personal expertise, having served as a Assistant Secretary at the USDA, I can assure you that the agency, APHIS continually strives to work better with its sister agencies at the borders, both the Customs Service and the Immigration and Naturalization Service. There exists in many cases memorandums of understanding between the agencies. And I do believe that in the new Department of Homeland Security that the functions of APHIS remaining in the Department of Agriculture can serve a major purpose in the new Department of Homeland Security through such memorandums of understanding. They do work. And I think it is important for this committee to consider that as it goes through the proposed establishment of the new department.
    Mr. STENHOLM. Mr. Orwick, would you have any comment on this question?
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    Mr. ORWICK. If I could add a comment. The executive board of the American Sheep Industry was meeting this weekend. A lot of the questions or concerns that have been very well stated by each of the witnesses so far came up over and over on Friday as well as on Saturday. And my reaction to part of it is change is always difficult and this is certainly change. Particularly where we are dealing with agencies that these farmers and ranchers deal with day in, day out, whether it is wildlife service trapper, or one of the veterinarians. And I think the key thing that they are looking for is that the confidence that they are going to have coming back from the U.S. Congress from their representatives, that they have dealt with the questions and they understand how things will work. And I think the bottom line for them is that the confidence that they will get back from you that that plan works there, whatever form or fashion that it finally ends up. But that will be important for them as they finish up with their questions or concerns.
    Mr. STENHOLM. I personally appreciate very much the in-depth manner in which each of you have developed your statements for the record. And I think, as I said in my opening statement, I think it is unfortunate that there has been the tendency of some to suggest that any deviation from the recommendation of the President would be turf protection and would be business as usual. And that is not what I hear from you. I hear all of us saying that there can be and must be enhanced homeland protection. We know that USDA and APHIS has been a part of that in the previous life prior to September 11. We now know that there has to be a big change, a change in the manner in which we do protect our borders, both from direct threat as well as from indirect. The indirect threat is the one that concerns all of us in production agriculture that you have indicated in your testimony today, your concern. I think, I hope that we will have some of these questions answered before we get to markup. But if not, I think we can take the valuable testimony and opinions from you and those who testified on behalf of each of our 50 State departments of agriculture, I believe that we will be able to do that which we have been asked to do.
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    I appreciate your testimony, Mr. McMillan. I particularly appreciate you sharing your experience with it. And it is nice to have a bureaucrat's experience being agreed to by the production agriculture representatives that we have at the table. Many times we have a difference of opinion in that regard.
    Mr. MCMILLAN. Thank you. Even though I might have been a bureaucrat at one time, I want you to know my heart has always been with production agriculture.
    Let me make one further comment about moving any functions of APHIS to Homeland Security. And it very well could dilute our efforts to protect the Nation and the food supply of the Nation. And a good illustration of this is one that is not necessarily known by most people and that is the National Poultry Improvement Plan. It would take away the resources concerned with border protection and so on, on that, but more important, that is held in high esteem by protecting the interstate movement. Because it is a cooperative program between the Federal Government, State and industry. And it certifies that the interstate movement of breeding poultry stock, for example, is proper, and it is just another illustration that I wanted to cite. Thank you.
    The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Putnam.
    Mr. PUTNAM. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I also want to echo Mr. Stenholm's comments that your testimony was particularly helpful and I am struck by how much more creative and thoughtful it was in the sense of looking at ways to make this work and dividing up responsibilities and functions versus the previous panel. The previous panel struck me that the motto was that the ineffective they knew was better than the reorganization that they did not. But there has been a lot of discussion both from our end and from that end in this panel and the last about this line between deliberate and accidental introduction of pests and disease. It seems to me that that is a wholly irrelevant debate. Because whether foot-and-mouth disease is brought in by al Qaeda or on the bottom of a British tourist shoe, the devastation to the live stock industry is the same. The costs are the same. And you can't wait to assign blame before you begin your containment process. So you are at D plus 14 or 20 or 30 before you know how it got there, or whether it was accidental or deliberate. And it is wholly irrelevant to the impact it will have on the American economy.
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    So if we try to divide this reorganization plan based on the intent of wreaking havoc on the American agriculture industry or the American population, then we have lost already. It is an irrelevant debate. So I think it is important that we move beyond that and look for ways to establish a bright line around our borders where there will be a seamless border agency that addresses people, INS issues, things, Customs issues, plants, animals, APHIS issues, drugs, DEA issues, endangered species, fish and wildlife issues. And then if things move past that bright line, if they move past that seamless border agency, which they invariably will, then the eradication, control, detection, containment of agriculture issues will remain in the purview of the USDA who knows best, who have the indemnification procedures through the CCC and everything else. We are fighting canker, we are fighting longhorn beetles, we are fighting all these things today because they got through the system as it is today. There was obviously a breakdown at the border or we wouldn't be fighting the canker battles in south Florida and the host of other issues around the country.
    Mr. McMillan, you with your experience in APHIS talked about the coordination at the airports and seaports. At a hearing on the Subcommittee on National Security last week we had Coast Guard, Customs, APHIS, INS and FBI at one panel, one table. The folks who represent the different components of border security today. They have never met. They had never been in a meeting before that congressional hearing to talk about how to coordinate border functions. Never. It was the first time that they had been at the same table at the same time.
    Could you please tell me how often you met in your capacity with the heads of the other border agencies?
    Mr. MCMILLAN. More frequently than you might think. Never publicized. But we had meetings with the FBI, we had meetings with Customs, we had meetings with INS. In some cases, all of these agencies together. And I have observed first hand, for example, in the port of Miami at the airport, which if you have never had an opportunity to see behind the scenes you should.
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    Mr. PUTNAM. It is a disgrace.
    Mr. MCMILLAN. It is not a disgrace. I think it is a miracle that it functions as well as it does.
    Mr. PUTNAM. It is where citrus canker has come into Florida. Everything we fought for the last 5 years have come through the airport or the seaport in Miami, Florida.
    Mr. MCMILLAN. Probably. I can't challenge you on what specifically has come through that port, but I think it is a miracle that it has worked as well as it has. I don't take anything away from what can be done in the way of improvement. But citrus canker very well could have come in through the port of Miami. Whether it was the airport or whether it was the seaport is beside the point. Screwworm very well could have come in. But normally it would come in accidentally. I think that is where the biggest concern is, in my judgment. I think commercial shipments of products into the United States pose less of a problem in terms of entry of pests or diseases than do tourists. I think the worst offender may be our pleasure boats. It is those pleasure boats that nobody checks when they come in.
    Mr. PUTNAM. You proved my point that it is irrelevant whether it is accidental or deliberate. The cost, the cleanup or the containment, the devastation are the same regardless of intent.
    If the chairman will allow it. I am out of time.
    The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Stallman, if you have a comment, we will take it.
    Mr. STALLMAN. We don't make a distinction between intentional and accidental introduction because the problems exist regardless of the source and we need to be able to deal with that. That is one of the reasons we think the functions of APHIS that deal with the internal problems in this country, disease containment, quarantine, indemnification and all of those, should remain where they are. We do think we accomplish the bright line border security by either moving those functions or—and I am just a simple country boy from Texas, but it seems like you could have an MOU with APHIS or a contract where those border control functions could be allocated, dedicated to the Department of Homeland Security, and it would seem that that step would be a reasonable step to take initially, see if that works, before you talk about a wholesale removal of an agency into the Department of Homeland Security with a host of unanswered questions. Do we really want the Department of Homeland Security distracted by checking for karnal bunt in elevators or chasing fruit flies or going to zoos or horse shows to enforce the Animal Welfare Act? And the list can go on and on. We do want the border protected and we don't want distractions from that.
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    The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Moran.
    Mr. MORAN. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much. Thank the previous panel and this one for an education.
    In particular, perhaps, Mr. McMillan, and others, have there been any post-September 11 changes in the cooperation between the Department of Agriculture and other agencies in regard to standards, cooperation related to enforcement? Have we seen our Government respond appropriately to make at least initially necessary changes to address the issue of agri-terrorism and the protection of our borders from induction of agents very harmful to the agriculture economy, the economy of our country?
    Mr. MCMILLAN. I can't answer specifically because I am not in the position at this point in time. But I can tell you that my sustaining contacts with people within APHIS, within FSIS, with GIPSA, with FDA, for that matter, have assured me that there has been an intensified effort on the part of all of these agencies to work closely together and to improve their infrastructure, if you please, both within the Department of Agriculture between APHIS, ARS, FAS, AMS, GIPSA and the rest of them, as well as interagencies, with Customs, with FDA, and others. So I guess I am answering your question in a roundabout way because I can't give you a specific answer since I am not privy to a lot of internal stuff. But I can tell you that I have been assured by those that I am in contact with that these efforts have intensified.
    Mr. WILSON. If I may, really I think the cooperation between agencies and governments, State and Federal, from my perspective as a cattle producer started months before that with the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the United Kingdom. Maybe we can talk previous to that with BSE outbreak. Our efforts to control BSE started in 1988. But more relevant to today's discussion, I think the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak is a better example because it is the terrorist dream come true from a political disease component. BSE takes too long. Foot-and-mouth disease is quick. So I think the cooperation among the governments started months earlier than that. I think September 11 just reinforced the thought that, well, we may have some intentional examples or intentional activities that we must be able to deal with to stop introduction of disease.
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    So I think the cooperation started months earlier than that. We now have, I think every State in the Union has had an Emergency Management Preparedness Program. I know in Ohio it was the first time Agriculture was asked to come and sit down and talk to them about emergency management planning. They had never talked about animal disease. They could handle a bomb, as the State director told me, if a bomb goes off in Columbus, Ohio, we can handle it. If foot-and-mouth disease occurs in Franklin County, we have no clue. I think most of the States were in that same position.
    As a result now, most of our members or a lot of our members have been asked to serve on these State emergency planning boards. I think we are trying to see where the loophole is and we are also seeing that we always have the resources and the equipment that we need that has been alluded to earlier by congressmen and panelists.
    Mr. MORAN. So your belief is that we have appropriately addressed the issue of introduction of foot-and-mouth disease, although still a number of steps have yet to be taken?
    Mr. WILSON. I think we have a good track record regarding foot-and-mouth disease in that we have not had this disease for 70 years. So we are doing some things right. But that has taken the cooperation of both Federal, State and local governments and producers themselves to help safeguard. So the protocol is in place.
    I think Mr. Putnam raises good points and stuff, but the basic difference is the system is set up for an intentional act of foot-and-mouth disease. The Homeland Security is talking about intentional. And there is a difference there.
    Mr. MORAN. In regard to hoof-and-mouth disease, you talk about increased cooperation post its arrival on the world scene. Are we much safer in the United States, much less likely for its introduction now than before?
    Mr. WILSON. I don't know that there has been additional resources and monies and personnel put into it. I think we have—we obviously have adequate checks and balances as it relates to that disease. Can we do better? Yes. Do we have the resources, have they been appropriated in the short term? Yes. Long term, no.
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    Mr. MORAN. Is there any country we ought to look at as a role model in this regard? Anybody do this better than we do?
    Mr. WILSON. No.
    Mr. MORAN. Thank you.
    The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Osborne.
    Mr. OSBORNE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you, members of the panel, for being here. I am sorry I have had to be in and out of here. I have got a markup and it seems to go on forever. But one thing that I have noticed in my short time here is that there seems to be a lot more people who are not interested in agriculture than there are people who are interested in agriculture. And at the present time almost everyone is interested in Homeland Security, national security of some kind, so it seems to me that even though a great many of us in agriculture are very concerned about the move of APHIS to Homeland Security, that we may be swimming upstream a little bit.
    I see three primary components here in APHIS. There is the research station at Plum island, and then there are the 186 points of entry. And roughly half the employees, 4,000-odd employees work at the ports of entry.
    Then there is the internal issue 4,000 employees that are primarily concerned with foot-and-mouth disease and different kinds of plant diseases within the country. And do any of you see the possibility that maybe the ports of entry should be included in the new home security department, whereas that which is internal could stay within APHIS? And I may be asking you a question that you are not prepared to answer. But it may be that we are going to have a hard time just saying we don't want APHIS, to move into this new category. But it does seem to me that certainly the internal security of the country probably would seem to be better, we would be better served if it stayed with USDA. The ports of entry, I think, are a major concern.
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    So I don't know if anybody has a reaction or not to that observation. But I mean we have to deal with reality and practicality here, too. It is not just what we want; it may be what will have to happen.
    Mr. MCMILLAN. Mr. Osborne, let me take a quick shot at that. First of all, we talk about the port of entry and we differentiate from the domestic problems that APHIS deals with. But within the structure of ports of entry, if you take the veterinary services aside, for example, of APHIS, there is the resource, there is the human resource, there is a technical knowhow that operates within that subagency, if you please, veterinary services, that can deal with domestic diseases or foreign diseases.
     Are you losing the technical expertise that would remain within USDA if the domestic programs were there? If you took it and put it over with the border side in the new Department of Homeland Security, then you have created a void in USDA.
    My personal judgment is that you can accomplish exactly what is being attempted in the formation of the Department of Homeland Security by leaving APHIS intact within USDA so that it can draw on the resources that are within the agency and with other agencies that are a part of the Department of Agriculture, and work with a form of the memorandum of understanding with the new department, and accomplish exactly the same thing.
    Mr. OSBORNE. Thank you. Mr. Stallman.
    Mr. STALLMAN. Well, I think we would concur with Mr. McMillan. That definitely ought to be the first cut at trying to resolve the problem. Because citing that function from a memorandum of understanding or some contractural relationship just seems to make sense where you are actually using the inspectors to help break that bright-line border that Mr. Putnam talked about.
    There is a lot of interaction and expertise that flows into that function from other areas within APHIS that are important for their ability to be able to detect, to determine what to look for, what kind of response they need to have and all of those kind of things. So trying to separate them physically with a hard line would lose those other resources that APHIS has, which are probably more appropriately dedicated to dealing with the internal problems that we have with respect to plant and disease, pest—plant and animal diseases and pests within agriculture in the United States.
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    Mr. OSBORNE. I have a short time. I want to make the observation that I am sure that the people in Homeland Security are looking at the fact, well, here are 4,000 people, they are spread around the country and they are well situated and, golly, they could help us, and they are looking for help. And being interested in agriculture, I certainly understand where you are coming from. But it also becomes a matter of focus. And, if you are sitting at the border, and your main thought is, well, how do we protect our livestock herds, you are going to have one focus. If your other focus is to say what are we going to do to make sure that nobody violates our borders, or keep undesirable people out, your mission tends to shift. And so I don't have any clear answer, and I just appreciate your being here.
    My time has expired so I yield back.
    The CHAIRMAN. I know the gentleman from Florida needed additional recognition. The Chair was going to exercise prerogative here and apologize to the gentleman. I am trying to get—we need to try to finish this next panel, if we can, within a relatively short period of time because of a series of votes. So I appreciate that. I would, as I did with the other panel, would encourage you to please submit any additional suggestions as we go forward.
    The third panel is Mr. James Dodson, chairman of the Cotton Foundation, National Cotton Council, Robstown, TX; Mr. Leon Corzine, member, Corn Board, National Corn Growers Association, Assumption, IL, on behalf of the National Corn Growers Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, American Soybean Association, U.S. Rice Producers Association, U.S. Rice Producers Group, and the Rice Millers Association, accompanied by Mr. Daren Coppock, CEO of the National Association of Wheat Growers; Mr. Robert Guenther, vice president, government and public affairs, United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association, Alexandria, VA; Ms. Lin Schmale, senior director of government relations, Society of American Florists, Alexandria, VA, on behalf of the Society of American Florists and American Nursery and Landscape Association.
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    All of the testimonies will be included in their entirety. If it is possible to summarize those within the time clock in front of you, it would be much appreciated. I apologize for that. But, unfortunately we don't always set the schedule here.
    Please start, Mr. Dodson.

STATEMENT OF JAMES F. DODSON, CHAIRMAN, COTTON FOUNDATION, NATIONAL COTTON COUNCIL, ROBSTOWN, TX
    Mr. DODSON. Good afternoon. My name is Jimmy Dodson, and I operate a diversified family farming operation in Robstown, TX. My principal cash crop is cotton, and my farm is in an active boll weevil eradication program.
    I am testifying on behalf of the National Cotton Council of America today. Mr. Chairman, Mr. Stenholm, members of the committee, thank you for holding today's hearing to allow us to provide comments on the proposal to move APHIS to the new Department of Homeland Security.
    I want to be very clear, the members of the National Cotton Council support the President in his resolve to protect our country from the threat of terrorism. We appreciate the President's recognition of agriculture as a high priority and that agriculture can play a major role for homeland security.
    In the legislation sent to Congress, the administration has proposed the transfer of APHIS in its entirety to the new department. As you know, the overall mission of APHIS is to protect America's animal and plant resources and includes a diverse set of responsibilities.
    It is apparent that APHIS's role in preventing exotic pests and diseases from entering the United States could serve a critical purpose in the Department of Homeland Security. However, there are many other programs carried out by APHIS which do not readily appear germane to homeland security. This inconsistency raises a very basic question for Congress as it create this new Federal department. Many of the roles of APHIS that are critical to production agriculture might receive lower priority and reduced funding. Programs like the boll weevil eradication program, pink bollworm eradication program, oversight of bilateral agreements with other cotton-producing countries and risk assessment and permitting of new biotechnology crops might not have a high priority in a new department devoted to stopping terrorism.
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    APHIS has played a vital role in coordinating the highly successful program to eradicate the destructive boll weevil from the United States. The eradication effort started in North Carolina in 1978. Today, over 10 million acres in eight States are in active eradication. That is almost 60 percent of the acreage planted to cotton this year.
    As an indication of the program's success, over 30 percent of the total acres planted to cotton have been certified as weevil-free. APHIS provides national coordination of the Boll Weevil Eradication Program and allocates critical Federal cost share funds, working closely with producer-led State eradication foundations and the National Boll Weevil Action Committee.
    Eradication increases yields, lowers production costs, and sharply reduces insecticide usage, thereby enhancing the environment. Independent estimates show that for every dollar spent on boll weevil eradication, $12 is returned to the rural economy through increased economic activity.
    If sufficient funding is available, and APHIS remains in a leadership role, we believe the boll weevil will be eradicated within the next 6 to 10 years. We have very serious concerns about whether the new Department of Homeland Security would aggressively seek the funding for the additional 30 percent Federal cost share.
    We also have concerns about whether APHIS resources and personnel would be allowed to continue to place high priority on the completion of this successful program.
    APHIS is also working with cotton farmers to eradicate another costly and destructive pest in five western States, the pink bollworm. Interestingly, this program uses soft technology rather than relying exclusively on pesticides.
    U.S. cotton producers, along with producers in Mexico, have committed now to implement programs to eradicate the pink bollworm from the United States and adjacent areas in northern Mexico. APHIS is essential to program implementation because of their ability to coordinate the activities of budget planning, equipment coordination and program implementation across State lines.
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    Since Mexico must be a partner in this program, the APHIS international expertise is absolutely essential. Again, we are concerned about the priority this program would receive if APHIS were absorbed into the new department. APHIS performs the vital role in facilitating exports of U.S. cotton and cotton products. It also monitors imported cotton to protect U.S. farmers from pests and diseases. Confidence in APHIS's technical capabilities and strict adherence to internally approved procedures provide assurance to overseas buyers of U.S. cotton and cotton products that imported goods meet agreed-upon phytosanitary standards.
    In recent months, APHIS has actively worked to eliminate redundant fumigation requirements for U.S. exports of cotton to Peru, Colombia and Pakistan. This effort has enhanced U.S. competitiveness in these markets by reducing costs and fumigation.
    Mr. Chairman, we look forward to working with you and your colleagues to ensure that APHIS can continue to carry out the critical functions I have illustrated today in my statement. Again, thank you for allowing me to present testimony on this very important matter.
    [The prepared statement of Mr. Dodson appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
    The CHAIRMAN. Thank you.
    Mr. Corzine, go ahead.

STATEMENT OF LEON CORZINE, MEMBER, CORN BOARD, NATIONAL CORN GROWERS ASSOCIATION, ASSUMPTION, IL ON BEHALF OF THE NATIONAL CORN GROWERS ASSOCIATION, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF WHEAT GROWERS, AND AMERICAN SOYBEAN ASSOCIATION, ACCOMPANIED BY DAREN COPPOCK, CEO, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF WHEAT GROWERS, WASHINGTON, DC

    Mr. CORZINE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Stenholm, and members of the committee. My name is Leon Corzine, and I serve on the board of directors for the National Corn Growers Association and chair NCGA's biotechnology working group. I farm in Assumption, IL, where my son and I raise corn and soybeans.
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    It is my privilege to be here today on behalf of the National Corn Growers Association, the National Association of Wheat Growers, the American Soybean Association, the U.S. Rice Producers Association, the U.S. Rice Producers Group, the Rice Millers Association, and the National Grain Sorghum Producers.
    I appreciate the opportunity to offer our views on legislation proposed by the administration to create the new Department of Homeland Security which would be accomplished in part by transferring APHIS from the USDA to the newly proposed Department of Homeland Security.
    I would like to begin by pointing out the critical role APHIS currently plays, not only in assisting to preserve America's plant and animal resources from agricultural pests and diseases, but also ensuring that America's agriculture exports, currently worth over $50 billion annually, are protected from unjustified trade restrictions. It accomplishes this through the timely issuance of sanitary and phytosanitary certificates of export.
    For example, karnal bunt is a pathogen currently afflicting a very minor portion of our wheat crop. But to meet the requirements of importing nations, APHIS issues certificates with a guarantee that our exports are free of karnal bunt.
    Second, the responsibility APHIS currently has in regulating the movement, importation and field testing of biotech crops through their permitting and notification procedures is of critical importance to future food production. New biotech crops have reduced the use of costly inputs and scarce resources, advances that have greatly improved the environment and provide alternatives to improved profitability for U.S. producers. There are literally hundreds of plant-derived biologics in the pipeline that will benefit all of society. Development and commercialization of these new and exciting biotech products requires extremely rigorous regulatory oversight, by APHIS, the FDA, and the EPA.
    Agriculture must have direct access to these agencies to facilitate this process. Our organizations have been pleased by the attention and priority that the Department of Agriculture has given to ensure the efficiency of the APHIS biotech regulatory functions.
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    Just last week USDA Under Secretary Bill Hawks and APHIS Administrator Bobby Accord announced a sweeping reorganization of this division. This reorganization, locating biotechnology regulatory services within the Office of the Deputy Administrator for APHIS, recognizes and elevates the importance of agriculture biotechnology to agriculture and food production. We applaud this move. It expands the capacity of APHIS to match rapid advances in technology and provides APHIS with the capability to offer assistance to other nations in their efforts to regulate biotech crops on the basis of sound science and practical realities. This cannot be lost.
    Our association stands firmly behind the President as he conducts the war on terrorism. Our concern is that uprooting APHIS lock, stock and barrel from USDA will impair the current functions of APHIS, particularly in the areas of trade assistance and the oversight of ag biotech development.
    The transfer, in our view, would risk the current focus of these critical issues at a very important time. For the above reasons, unless these issues are more fully addressed, we have serious concerns regarding such a move. In the interest of providing some constructive input, I would suggest the committee examine the following: The current mission of APHIS. Safeguard resources from exotic, invasive pests and diseases. Monitor and manage agricultural pests and diseases existing in the United States. Resolve and manage trade issues related to animal and plant health, and ensure the humane care and treatment of animals.
    We should ask ourselves, how does this mission match up with the stated mission of the proposed Department of Homeland Security? Where the functions between the two organizations would facilitate better communications and seem compatible, move forward, eliminate the transfer to those functions. We urge caution in moving either trade support functions or the agriculture biotech oversight functions. Both are highly dependent on the free exchange of information and technology both within the United States and internationally.
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    Transparency is essential for strengthening and sustaining the public's confidence in the biotech area. APHIS carries out their trade support activities in accordance with the WTO agreement on the application of sanitary and phytosanitary measures. The SPS agreement requires signatory countries to adhere to certain basic concepts in setting their animal and plant health import requirements, including the SPS agreement contents on transparency, harmonization, equivalence, risk assessment, and regionalization.
    I understand that the concern over the release of information is one reason the administration is seeking an exemption from the Freedom of Information Act for the Department of Homeland Security. If the committee decides to approve the move of all or certain functions of APHIS to the new Department of Homeland Security, we would strongly encourage the committee to add language stating that nothing in the homeland security legislation be construed as amending or repealing the current legislative authorities, trade agreements or treaties that APHIS operates under.
    Let me assure this committee that whatever action is taken by the Congress on this matter, we are ready to do our level best to make the transition as effective as possible.
    Again, I want to thank the committee for this opportunity to present our views and I would be happy to answer any questions later.
    [The prepared statement of Mr. Corzine appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
    The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much.
    Mr. Guenther.

STATEMENT OF ROBERT GUENTHER, VICE PRESIDENT, GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS, UNITED FRESH FRUIT AND VEGETABLE ASSOCIATION, ALEXANDRIA, VA
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    Mr. GUENTHER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, members of the committee. My name is Robert Guenther, and I currently serve as vice president of government and public affairs for United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association. United is the national trade association that represents the interests of growers, shippers, processors, brokers, wholesalers and distributors of produce, working together with their customers at every step of the distribution chain.
    On behalf of United members, we appreciate the opportunity to appear before the committee to provide input on the proposal to relocate the animal plant health and inspection service to the proposed Department of Homeland Security.
    I also come before you today on behalf of the Plant Safeguarding Alliance. The Plant Safeguarding Alliance facilitates cooperative action and communication among private sector organizations that have an interest in advocating the safeguarding of U.S. plant-based industries from invasive pests and diseases.
    Since its inception, the Alliance has engaged in a broad range of issues and policies designed to improve the safeguarding system, including the enactment of the Plant Protection Act and the implementation of a Safeguarding American Plant Resources Report.
    APHIS is critically important for organizations under the United and plant safeguarding umbrella, an agency in which the fruit and vegetable horticulture industries rely on for a variety of functions. These functions include trade facilitation, pest exclusion, detection and response, and domestic pest management. We believe the success that American agriculture has enjoyed in terms of controlling and eliminating domestic pests and safeguarding the United States from introduction of foreign pests is unprecedented in the entire world.
    Given the events of September 11, it is appropriate for the Federal Government, in partnership with States and the private sector, to focus resources on adapting the current Federal infrastructure to address the ongoing threats we face. It is the intention of organizations before you today to work with the Congress and the administration to ensure that we have in place the proper safeguards to protect the public from threats of terrorism, either foreign or domestic.
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    Members of the United and the Plant Safeguarding Alliance understand the need and rationale behind the formation of the Department of Homeland Security to protect the Nation's resources, economy, and citizens against the harm that terrorist attacks can cause. The consolidation and incorporation of certain existing security agencies and functions into the new department seem logical.
    Antiterrorism must be focused and well coordinated. However, the industry remains concerned and questions if such a move will fundamentally jeopardize the delivery of inspection services critical to the APHIS safeguarding mission. It would be particularly disruptive at a time when APHIS has made 2 years of implementation progress towards modernizing the augmenting of their safeguarding systems.
    One critical concern of the fruit and vegetable industry would be the transfer of APHIS to the new Department of Homeland Security where antiterrorism would be the top priority, while agriculture and environmental protection concerns would take a back seat. We fear that this would be the case. The result would be an ineffectual agency delivery of its plant safeguarding primary responsibility.
    The produce industry and plant safeguarding members fully support the functional linkages between APHIS activities and the Department of Homeland Security. Appropriate and effective action to prevent or mitigate terrorist attacks does require real-time access to and proper analysis of all relevant information, including APHIS data that might reveal a deliberate attack on our food system. Those linkages must include the collection, processing and sharing of data in ways that meet multiple purposes, the cross-training of APHIS inspectors so that they can be appropriately aware and contribute toward antiterrorism activities and coordination of present activities to maximize synergies between all agencies.
    Such coordination should and must happen without sacrificing efficient, effective performance of APHIS plant protection, quarantine, plant safeguarding and trade facilitation responsibilities.
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    We believe that a thoughtful and measured consideration of the various proposals to strengthen homeland security will produce an outcome that strengthens existing programs while adding or modifying responsibilities as appropriate.
    The produce industry would like to appear before you today in a position to provide clear and unequivocal direction to the committee of the changes to APHIS that may be necessary to aid the fight against terrorism. Unfortunately, like many organizations that have been before the committee today, we remain with more questions than answers.
    We have been working within our industries and with other aspects of agriculture that depend on APHIS to analyze the impacts of locating APHIS within an extraordinarily large and exclusively security-focused department. Working with these groups, we developed a series of questions that we need to have answered as completely as possible prior to making any complete determination as to the proper course of action. We encourage the committee to help us pursue answers to these critical questions.
    We believe that only at that point the policymakers within Congress and the administration have the information necessary to continue this process. We look forward to working with the committee and the administration to make the appropriate changes to the infrastructure to safeguard America. We share with the Congress and the administration obligations to do everything within our power to safeguard our domestic agriculture and horticultural production and to continue to provide our fellow Americans safe and abundant agricultural products.
    Thank you again for allowing us to appear before the committee. Thank you.
    [The prepared statement of Mr. Guenther appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
    The CHAIRMAN. Thank you.
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    Ms. Schmale.

STATEMENT OF LIN SCHMALE, SENIOR DIRECTOR, GOVERNMENT RELATIONS, SOCIETY OF AMERICAN FLORISTS, ALEXANDRIA, VA, ON BEHALF OF THE AMERICAN NURSERY AND LANDSCAPE ASSOCIATION

    Ms. SCHMALE. Thank you. I am here on behalf of the Society of American Florists of which I am the senior director of government relations, and I am representing also the American Nursery and Landscape Association. And I need to tell you that this testimony was prepared and written by Craig Regelbrugge, who was the original witness asked to testify.
    We have worked very closely together on APHIS issues. We have many of the same concerns. We together represent the environmental horticulture industry, which consists of nursery and landscape and floriculture growers in the United States and we have shared the same concerns with the 10 people before me who have said them very well. So I am not going to repeat a lot of that.
    Instead I will try to give you some specific examples that would present—paint more of a picture and leave a picture in your mind of some of the reasons why APHIS is so very important to us, and its activities are so very important to us, and why we would have some grave concerns about it becoming part of a Department of Homeland Security.
    Let me start off first of all, as we say in the testimony, by noting that our industry is not particularly a small part of agriculture. We are an $11 billion total cash crop, and we represent 11 percent of crop agriculture. We had also added here, not to provoke any battles with anyone, but that we are the third largest plant crop now behind only corn and soybean, and ahead of wheat, cotton.
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    But I just want to note for the record that I grew up on a wheat farm. My brother continues to own that farm in western Nebraska, and I understand the difference between volume and high value crops.
    I think it is very important that the voice of agriculture remain unified. We will do everything that we can do to make that happen.
    Our concerns with this proposal do stem a little bit from some of the differences that we do have from row-crop agriculture. We are primarily propagating material with the exception of cut flowers, which are handled a little bit differently from other imports. And propagating material is material that is intended for further planting. So a lot of the products that we get into the country are spread around and planted elsewhere, can be shipped from Florida to California to Minnesota to Nebraska to wherever. So diseases can spread very quickly on them, and it can be hard to control them. So we rely heavily on APHIS and its cooperation with the State departments of agriculture to control that kind of thing.
    I think the thing that we would emphasize most in talking about APHIS is its trade facilitation, its trade facilitator role. In that, I note that the proposals that seem to be coming out to pull the—basically what would be plant protection and quarantine section out of APHIS would cause us great concern. That particular part of the agency has about a $600 million budget, out of the total APHIS budget of $1.2 billion. Their budget includes about $300 million in user fees and their budget includes the—some 3,100, quote, unquote, port inspectors, but some of those port inspectors, as I understand it, are also pulled off from time to time to serve as strike teams to address domestic programs and domestic problems. So they are not just totally just sitting at the borders waiting for something to come through. There are another 1,000 or so people in that plant protection and quarantine part of APHIS who are scientists, who provide a lot of the fundamental know-how that we need to assess risk, which is one of APHIS's primary roles in carrying out its obligations under our internal trade treaties.
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    APHIS is really our first line of defense. We say we are a global economy. We have global trade. And APHIS is there in support of that. And I think we need to be very, very careful before we start pulling it apart to address issues that are essentially security rather than trade-related issues, as has been said.
    Let me just give you a little example of why we think the port inspectors even are an integral part of the continuum of risk protection, risk activities that APHIS undertakes, and that is that right now Mexico formally requested us to allow the import of Tingenera planted in media, in growing media which normally is not allowed into the United States for the obvious reason that pests and diseases can hide in soil or soil type things more easily and be much harder to detect at the border.
    APHIS, before they can accept or deny that under the international treaty, must prove scientifically that there is a scientific reason why we can't allow Mexico to export those to the United States. That is a function that is part of the PPQ. That function, I think, would quickly become subordinated to terrorism protection activities, were this part of APHIS to be transferred over to a Department of Homeland Security.
    I think I am running out of time, so let me cut my testimony short right there, and say that both Craig and I will look forward to providing any help to the committee as you continue with this pretty difficult task. Thank you very much again.
    [The prepared statement of Ms. Schmale appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
    The CHAIRMAN. Thank all of you. Please understand that our time frame has nothing do with the significance or importance of your testimony.
    Mr. Putnam.
    Mr. PUTNAM. I will keep it very brief. I would just ask, particularly our specialty crops, Mr. Guenther and Ms. Schmale, if there is a third way—if the current way is unacceptable, and we have had testimony from both of your groups before that there are serious problems with resources and the number of inspectors and the lack of coordination between the agencies.
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    If moving APHIS to Homeland Security is not acceptable, then what is the best way to guarantee that food safety and bioterror acts are part of our national strategy to keep the homeland safe?
    Mr. GUENTHER. Well, I wouldn't say that it is—I mean this could present us with an opportunity to better make more efficient the border inspection processes. I would say that there is a lot of questions right now with this process. We are working, trying within the industry and I think all of our agriculture, trying to get answers to these questions about whether or not, what impact this is going to have on the actual missions of what they are trying right now.
    If the missions right now are protecting plant safeguarding mission, the primary mission—and you are right, there are a number of circumstances where there has been situations where it hasn't worked. And if by moving it to the Department of Homeland Security, we are diluting further that primary mission, then we are going to have problems with that.
    But if the situation is where we can enhance the mission by moving it, then I think we have to look at that very closely.
    Ms. SCHMALE. I agree. And let me just add to that that I think it is pretty dangerous to assume that you can catch everything at the border. I think that to assume that by putting a lot of people at the border you will catch everything that comes through is not necessarily a correct assumption because, as you said, as you pointed out, we see that it doesn't work now.
    I think that the—the continuum of protection that APHIS is providing right now, which includes things like preclearance programs in other countries, which includes things like certification agreements, which includes things like APHIS people abroad looking at production facilities, that includes things like agreements with—for example, in our industry, the domestic companies who are producing cuttings overseas and then shipping them in here into the United States, that whole range of things provides the kind of security that we need to be looking at. And surely there can be some way cobbled together of providing, incorporating bioterrorism with enough communication between two departments to make it work.
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    Mr. PUTNAM. Thank you. And I will close with this. According to a March 2000 USDA inspector general report, in two Florida ports alone plant protection and quarantine division did not inspect cargo ships timely upon arrival, neither did it inspect the baggage of 75 percent of the arriving international airline passengers, nor 99 percent of cruise ship passengers arriving from foreign nations. We can do better than that, folks.
    Mr. GUENTHER. I think this also applies to exporting as well. I mean the perishability of our commodities is critical to having a very timely and seamless operation in terms of border inspections. This goes to both exporting and importing. So the importance of—if we have an opportunity here to enhance this system without creating more delays that are already at the borders now, that would be very helpful.
    The CHAIRMAN. I appreciate again all of the witnesses today. We would encourage you to provide any additional information that you would wish. And the hearing is adjourned.
    [Whereupon, at 12:30 p.m., the committee was adjourned, subject to the call of the Chair.]

    [Material submitted for inclusion in the record follows:]

Statement of Leon Corzine
    Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Stenholm, and Members of the Committee:
    My name is Leon Corzine and I serve on the Board of Directors for the National Corn Growers Association and Chair NCGA's Biotechnology Working Group. I farm at Assumption, Illinois where my son and I raise corn and soybeans. It is my privilege to be here today on behalf of the National Corn Growers Association, the National Association of Wheat Growers, the American Soybean Association, the U.S. Rice Producers Association, the U.S Rice Producers Group, and the Rice Millers Association.
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    I appreciate the opportunity to offer our views on legislation proposed by the Administration to create a new Department of Homeland Security, which would be accomplished, in part, by transferring the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to the newly proposed Department of Homeland Security.
     I would like to begin by pointing out the critical role APHIS currently plays not only in assisting to preserve America's plant and animal resources from agricultural pests and diseases, but, perhaps most importantly in our view, ensuring that America's agricultural exports, currently worth over $50 billion annually, are protected from unjustified trade restrictions. It accomplishes this through the timely issuance of sanitary and phytosanitary certificates of export. This assures the importing nation that our agricultural exports will not jeopardize their food supply.
    For example, karnal bunt is a pathogen currently afflicting a very minor portion of our wheat crop. But to meet the requirements of importing nations, APHIS issues certificates with a guarantee that our exports are free of karnal bunt. And APHIS has placed a high priority on working to have karnal bunt deregulated, thus not subject to quarantine, worldwide. We must be assured this work remains a high priority.
    Second, the responsibility APHIS currently has in regulating the movement, importation, and field testing of biotech crops through their permitting and notification procedures is of critical importance to future food production. As you know, the science of biotechnology has already benefited farmers through improved production practices and reduced tillage. Many new biotech crops will reduce the use of costly inputs and scarce resources; advances that will greatly improve the environment and provide alternatives to improve profitability for U.S. producers. There are literally hundreds of plant-derived biologics in the pipeline that benefit all of society. Development and commercialization of these new and exciting biotech products require extremely rigorous and regulatory oversight by APHIS, FDA, and EPA. Agriculture must have direct access to these agencies to facilitate this process.
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    Our organizations have been pleased by the attention and priority the Department of Agriculture has given to ensure the efficiency of the APHIS biotech regulatory function. In fact, just last week USDA Undersecretary of Marketing, Regulatory Programs Bill Hawks and APHIS Administrator Bobby Accord announced a sweeping reorganization of this division. This reorganization, locating Biotechnology Regulatory Services within the Office of the Deputy Administrator for APHIS, recognizes and elevates the importance of agricultural biotechnology to agriculture and food production. We applaud this move. It expands the capacity of APHIS to match rapid advances in technology and provides APHIS with the capability to offer assistance to other nations in their efforts to regulate biotech crops on the basis of sound science and practical realities.
    Which brings us to the business at hand, moving APHIS out of an agricultural setting and into a homeland security setting.
    Our associations stand firmly behind the President as he conducts the war on terrorism. And we want to assist in helping to create the most effective Department of Homeland Security possible. Our concern is that uprooting APHIS lock, stock and barrel from USDA will impair the current functions of APHIS, particularly in the areas of trade assistance and the oversight of agricultural biotechnology development. The transfer in our view would risk the current focus on these critical issues at a very important time. For the above reasons, unless these concerns are more fully addressed, we have serious concerns regarding such a move.
    However, in the interest of providing some constructive input, I would suggest that the Committee examine the following:
    The current mission of APHIS is to:
     Safeguard resources from exotic invasive pests and diseases,
     Monitor and manage agricultural pests and diseases existing in the United States,
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     Resolving and manage trade issues related to animal and plant health, and
     Ensure the humane care and treatment of animals.
    How does that mission match up with the stated mission of the proposed Department of Homeland Security, which is to;
     Prevent against terrorist attacks
     Reduce the vulnerability of the United States to terrorism; and
     Minimize the damage, and assist in the recovery, from terrorist attacks that do occur within the United States.
    Where the functions between the two organizations would facilitate better communications and seem compatible, then move forward and limit the transfer to those functions.
    We acknowledge that there are sectors of agriculture that are very vulnerable to unwarranted contamination by disease or pests and we need to protect our agricultural production and be vigilant in maintaining a safe, secure agricultural system for the U.S.
    However, we urge caution in moving either the trade support functions or the agriculture biotechnology oversight functions. Both of these functions are highly dependent on the free exchange of information and technology both within the United States and internationally. Transparency is essential for strengthening and sustaining the public's confidence in the biotechnology arena.
    In fact, APHIS carries out their trade support activities in accordance with the World Trade Organization Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (the SPS Agreement). The SPS Agreement ''requires signatory countries to adhere to certain basic concepts in setting their animal and plant health import requirements, including the SPS Agreement concepts of transparency, harmonization, equivalence, risk assessment, and regionalization.''
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    The last thing that an organization devoted to fighting terrorism would, or should, want is transparency or information sharing generally. In fact, I understand that the concern over the release of information is one reason the Administration is seeking an exemption from the Freedom of Information Act for the Department of Homeland Security.
    Finally, we have been informed of assurances that APHIS would continue to operate in the new Department of Homeland Security in the same manner that it currently operates within USDA and that it would maintain the same relationships and ties that it currently has with other agencies and Departments including those within USDA. This leads to the question of what organizational advantages would be derived from the transfer of APHIS?
    Again, if the committee decides to approve the move of all, or certain functions, of APHIS to the new Department of Homeland Security, we would strongly encourage the committee to add language stating that nothing in the Homeland Security legislation be construed as amending or repealing the current legislative authorities, trade agreements or treaties that APHIS operates under. I've attached most of those authorities as an addendum to my testimony. Let me assure this committee that whatever action is taken by the Congress on this matter, you can be sure that we are ready to do our level best to make the transition as effective as possible.
    Again, I want to thank the committee for this opportunity to present our views and I would be happy to respond to any questions you may have.
     

Testimony of C.W. McMillan
    My name is C. W. McMillan, president of C. W. McMillan Company. I am pleased to be here today on behalf of the National Chicken Council (NCC) and the United Egg Producers (UEP). NCC is a national trade association representing the producer/processors of more than 95 percent of the broiler-fryer chickens marketed in the United States. UEP is a farmer cooperative whose members account for more than 80 percent of U.S. shell egg production. The membership of these organizations appreciate the opportunity to present their views on the proposal to transfer the functions of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to the new Department of Homeland Security.
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    I also would like to note that the National Turkey Federation shares in the concerns we raise in this testimony. However, NTF's Executive Committee has not been able to meet and to develop final policy yet on this issue, so the Federation has elected to submit a written statement for this hearing.
    First let me say that we compliment the President and his staff, including Homeland Security Director Governor Tom Ridge, for focusing the nation's attention on the need for homeland security and for taking the first steps to create a unified, focused agency to deal with this critical mission. The question before you, we believe, is how this mission can best be achieved, and what functions and agencies of the Federal Government should be contributed to the new department to maximize its effectiveness.
    Between 1981 and 1985, I served as Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Inspection Services. APHIS was one of several agencies reporting to that Assistant Secretary's office. In my role as Assistant Secretary, I learned first hand about the important and integral functions APHIS provides in USDA's regulation of agriculture. It is in that context, and based upon my personal experience, that I offer on behalf of NCC and UEP some suggestions for how most effectively to enhance homeland security by deploying relevant APHIS resources without jeopardizing that agency's traditional and still vital functions.
    As you know, Mr. Chairman, APHIS has 8,000 employees and a budget of more than $1 billion. It handles a host of important functions, ranging from enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act in zoos and circuses, to issuing of permits for the development of biotech crops, to conducting inspection and quarantine of imported plants and animals to guard against foreign pests and diseases. It also oversees the National Poultry Improvement Plan, which certifies breeding stock as free of disease and therefore suitable for interstate and international commerce.
    We believe that it is appropriate for the border protection activities of APHIS to be made available to the new Department of Homeland Security, perhaps by assignment, memorandum of agreement, or even partial transfer.
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    However, most APHIS activities are involved in service to agriculture and have little or nothing to do with homeland security as we understand it. These functions should remain within the department that is most oriented to agriculture, that is, the USDA.
    Allow me to cite a situation that is going on right now to illustrate the challenges that are faced every day by APHIS. From time to time, there are outbreaks of disease in animals that are endemic to the United States. These diseases may have been inadvertently introduced many years ago from some other nation but today are considered to be of a domestic nature. A classic example of this is Avian Influenza (AI). We have recently had a significant outbreak of Low-Pathogenic Avian Influenza in the state of Virginia. Although this is a mild version of Avian Influenza, nevertheless it must be eradicated where it occurs, and APHIS has been very helpful in addressing the problem in Virginia. The state agencies take the lead on this particular problem, and APHIS has coordinated with the states in a very professional manner. APHIS and other agencies of USDA, in cooperation with Congress, are also addressing the question of indemnification for poultry producers who have suffered losses as a result of the outbreak.
    In addition to its impact on animal health, a problem such as Avian Influenza—even the low-pathogenic variety—has an impact on our international trade relations. As you know, Mr. Chairman, we have a very large trade in poultry and poultry products, with total exports of chicken, turkey, eggs and egg products amounting to more than $2.3 billion in 2001. APHIS is involved in trade issues and works closely with other agencies in USDA such as the Foreign Agricultural Service and Food Safety and Inspection Service. This interaction is readily accomplished because all these agencies are under the same roof.
    In sum, in dealing with a problem such as Avian Influenza, APHIS has to deal with the states, with foreign governments, and with other agencies of the USDA. The USDA as a Department is prepared to move quickly when this type of situation develops. It has the human expertise and funds to get involved quickly and help bring the situation under control.
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    Yet none of this has anything to do with homeland security. The outbreak of the mild form of avian influenza is an unfortunate development, but it was not terrorism, nor does it threaten human health. The only foreign involvement in the AI outbreak at all is the remote possibility that it was spread by Canada geese. That and the unfortunate and unjustified trade response of several foreign governments to ban our products.
    Let me assure you that we understand that our domestic industry of agriculture and our consumers in the public at large must be protected against bioterrorism. This is a matter for law enforcement and border control. APHIS is already deeply involved in border control and every month seizes hundreds of pounds of plant and animal material that is being brought into the country in inadvertent violation of regulations. Its expertise in this area will be of great service to the Department of Homeland Security. Its function as the guardian of zoo animals would not.
    This is why we believe that the principal functions of APHIS, those involved in service to agriculture, to animal welfare, and other topics unrelated to terrorism—should remain in the Department of Agriculture. Those APHIS responsibilities related to border protection should be made available or transferred to the new Department of Homeland Security.
    Working with production agriculture and agribusiness in areas ranging from international trade to domestic disease control is part of the mission of USDA. Although it has been publicly stated that the same understanding will be present in the new Department of Homeland Security, it is hard to believe that this will happen. Routine services to agriculture will clearly not be part of the mission of the Department of Homeland Security. Such functions simply will not have a high priority with the new department and will not have a significant call on its resources if the new department is as focused on homeland security as it should be. In fact, for us to ask the new Department to focus on avian influenza indemnification or similar matters could only blur the Department's focus. Surely such an outcome is not what any of us desire.
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    In short, we agree that some of the border functions provided by APHIS should be made immediately available to the new Department of Homeland Security, where those functions can be coordinated with the Immigration and Naturalization Service or the Customs Service. There are many intra-governmental mechanisms through which assignment or even partial transfer of expertise and resources can readily be accomplished without necessarily altering a well-established and still essential regulatory structure.
    We support establishment of the Department of Homeland Security. We respectfully recommend, however, that the critical, traditional, non-security-related missions of APHIS should be preserved by retaining these functions within USDA.
    Thank you for your consideration.
     
Statement of Gary Wilson
    Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I am Gary Wilson, a cow-calf producer from Ohio and Chairman of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, Cattle Health and Well-being Committee. I want to thank you for the opportunity to testify on the President's proposal to create a Department of Homeland Security. I do so on behalf of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA), the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI). This hearing is important and we are glad to be able to participate.
    The President's proposal to create a Department of Homeland Security is commendable. We support the efforts to better streamline the work currently being conducted by the many different agencies to protect America from those who wish to cause intentional harm. We are also pleased with the fact that the threats to the agricultural sector are included in this proposal. Animal agriculture has fought for many years to raise the awareness that we are vulnerable to the introduction of foreign pests and diseases that could devastate our industries and the food supply.
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    It would be very easy for our associations to stand here today and say no to this proposal. It could also be very easy for us to say yes to this proposal, or portions of it. However, at this time, we have numerous questions we feel need to be addressed and answered by the White House and Congress before we can make an educated decision on what is best to ensure the continued protection of American agriculture. These questions are attached to our testimony.
    At this time, I would like to take this opportunity to share with you our perspective of over 100 years of experience in working closely with the USDA, State animal health officials, veterinarians and animal scientists to prevent the introduction and spread of new animal diseases into the United States, and control and eradicate animal diseases and pests already present in this country.
     In the last 100 years we have created a series of formidable barriers to the introduction of foreign animal diseases. As a result of these systems, while Foot and Mouth Disease is found on all but 2 continents, North America and Australia, we have been free of this disease for over 70 years.
    The barriers we have put in place are designed to be science-based and measured according to risk. They include the following components:
     Intelligence information from around the world, and from the Office of International Epizootics, is used to develop a list of countries, diseases, and the products, articles, or animal movements that must be controlled to prevent introduction into the U.S.
     The USDA, in concert with the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Customs Service, uses this information to place import restrictions as to which products are prohibited from being exported to the United States.
     The USDA, Customs and FDA then play an active role at our ports of entry to ensure said products, articles, or animals indeed are kept out of the U.S. This is viewed as our first line of defense, or first firewall, and one of the most important in preventing a disease outbreak.
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     Inside the boundaries of the United States, the USDA-APHIS cooperates with State animal health officials and the FDA to provide a second firewall in case products, articles or animals escaped detection at the borders or ports/points of entry. This State and Federal cooperation is our second firewall guarding against foreign animal diseases.
     The third firewall is biosecurity at the farm and ranch level, including quick identification of diseases.
     Last but not least, agencies, working in cooperation with animal agriculture, have designed an aggressive control and eradication system in the unlikely event a disease outbreak occurs.
    Regardless of how the Department of Homeland Security is designed, we firmly believe that this science and risk-based process of determining and guarding against threats with a multiple series of firewalls will be the basis for our continued success. These must be the guiding principles.
     Our vision of the Department of Homeland Security's role is to ensure that potentially dangerous people, products, articles, animals, etc. do not enter the United States. Quite simply, if they can't get in, they can't do harm.
    In this regard, we can see a role for a single agency or department held responsible to keep our borders safe and impenetrable. There is merit in consolidation of agency efforts, especially those that will ensure we have a 21st century strategy in place at our ports and portals of entry in the United States.
    As an example, during the most recent Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak in the United Kingdom, we met several times with USDA-APHIS and the U.S. Customs Service to ensure they were doing everything they could to prevent the introduction of this disease. Additionally, both APHIS and Customs officials recognized that computer systems and communications were not what they should be and that action must be taken.
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    During these meetings and others over time, it has always come to mind as to the necessity of four Federal agencies (INS, Customs, FDA and USDA-APHIS) working at our ports of entry. At the same time, we have concerns that many portals of entry, such as over-night shipping destinations from all over the world remain relatively unprotected.
    As part of our evaluation we have discussed a model in which we see a well-funded USDA-APHIS being a vital partner with the new Department of Homeland Security. In this model, USDA-APHIS would contribute their capability to scan the globe for disease threats, provide real-time dynamic information and direct the ports of entry as to what to prohibit. It would seem the human intelligence community and related agencies would play a comparable role in providing information to the Department of Homeland Security as to what people or other products or articles represent threats.
    While we do see merit in consolidation of efforts, the current proposal to incorporate all APHIS functions into the Department of Homeland Security raises many questions and concerns. There are many functions of APHIS critical to the future competitiveness of agriculture in the United States. Farmers and ranchers have developed a very good working relationship with APHIS to meet mutual animal health goals, and this must not be overlooked as discussions continue on the architecture of the Department of Homeland Security.
    There are several components in a consolidation effort that concern us, and that we believe may not be coherent in the context of a single department. They include the development of diagnostic tools for monitoring, surveillance, control and eradication of domestic disease in the United States, the detection of exotic or emerging or new diseases, the certification of exports, descriptive studies of current animal production practices, sanitary and phytosanitary standards and associated international trade efforts and negotiations.
    It is also unclear how functions of APHIS such as wildlife services, biologics, and vaccine manufacturing for domestic diseases would fit into the Department of
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Homeland Security.
    This is a brief summary of our thoughts. We are very supportive of this process and of continuing this dialogue. We greatly appreciate the opportunity to discuss this issue of importance to all Americans. We look forward to working closely with you as the Department of Homeland Security is designed.
    The attached questions provide additional perspectives on our concerns. Thank you again for this opportunity.
KEY QUESTIONS REGARDING THE ROLE OF APHIS
    If transferred wWithin the Department of Homeland Security, how will the issues that APHIS deals with that are not related to protecting from terrorism be prioritized within the new Department?
    In addition to the mission of APHIS to safeguard America's animal and plant resources from exotic pests and diseases (whether intentionally or accidentally introduced), APHIS also has missions that do not relate to protection from terrorism. They include: monitoring and managing agricultural pests and diseases existing in the US, resolving and managing trade issues related to animal or plant health, and ensuring the humane care and treatment of animals. These missions support animal and public health (through the control and eradication of zoonotic diseases) and the interests of agricultural industries.
     The APHIS import activities would be transferred to the Department of Homeland Security but the FDA and FSIS import inspection functions are not. Why?
    A major component of the Department of Homeland Security is border security. This includes the importation of food, animals and animal products, animal feeds, drugs, biologics and other items that must be controlled at our borders to enhance human, animal and plant protection. Several agencies including APHIS, FDA and FSIS perform these critical functions.
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     Could the focus on homeland security create a more isolationist attitude (when in doubt, keep it out) and negatively impact the opportunities for agricultural trade?

    Will emphasis within the Department of Homeland Security become more ''secrecy'' driven with less openness and participatory/collaborative approaches and will the new agency be required to follow the current administrative procedures act relative to notice and comment rulemaking?
     Will reorganization consume resources and slow progress toward achieving better preparedness and response capabilities?
     Plum Island is currently responsible for diagnostic testing for a number of diseases. If this facility is move to the control of Homeland Security what happens to this diagnostic work and to the ongoing research done by ARS at the facility since ARS is not a part of the new department?
     Will APHIS' plant and animal safeguarding mission remain a top priority?
     How will Domestic Disease Eradication, Monitoring and Surveillance Programs be managed and executed?
    Domestic diseases include, but are not limited to: pseudorabies, brucellosis, tuberculosis, scrapie, and chronic wasting disease.
    The mission of protecting animal & plant health involves a significant investment in domestic pest and disease eradication, surveillance and monitoring. These programs are essential for the economic viability of American agriculture both at the farm level and for exports of U.S. plant and animal products
    APHIS has many functions that are or can be viewed as relating to Homeland Security. APHIS also has many functions that are not so much homeland security issues, but are vitally important functions relating to trade and domestic issues. Does the new Secretary of Homeland Security want to certify bull semen for export? Or protect airplanes from bird strikes? Or conduct inspections for the Swine Health Protection Act?
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    We urge your committee to fully consider the ramifications such a move could have on the current mission of APHIS before decisions are made.
     
Statement of Meg Scott Phipps
    Mr. Chairman and members of the committee: Thank you for the invitation to address the full House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture in the 107th Congress. The willingness of the committee to hear the testimony from the State Departments of Agriculture is greatly appreciated.
     As the chief advocate and spokesperson for North Carolina agriculture, I would be falling short of my duties if I did not portray the importance of agriculture and agribusiness to the state of North Carolina. Agribusiness is the number one industry in our state. Our farm gate income is approximately $7.4 billion annually, providing the foundation for an agribusiness economy of $59.2 billion annually employing more than 20 percent of the state's workforce. Within the last 10 years, North Carolina agriculture has transformed into an increasing livestock oriented economy with poultry and swine as the leading commodities. On the plant side of the equation, tobacco is now second to the nursery industry. Overall North Carolina currently ranks third among all states in commodity diversification.
     Mr. Chairman, when asked whether or not the role of APHIS is important to North Carolina, I must reply ''absolutely yes''. The primary role of APHIS is to protect the health of the nation's domestic animal and plant population. As previously stated, North Carolina is largely dependent on an agribusiness economy based upon both animals and plants and is therefore truly influenced by the role of APHIS.
     The issue of transferring all or part of APHIS from USDA to Homeland Security raises a series of questions that need to be addressed. The primary question is what will happen to the already forged relationship between State Departments of Agriculture and APHIS in the prevention and spread of diseases and pests that affect our animal and plant agricultural sectors. While the threat of a terrorist attack is serious, naturally occurring and internationally recognized pests and diseases from everyday commerce could devastate our country's agricultural economy. Internationally and domestically, we have seen the negative economic impacts of avian influenza, pseudorabies, karnal bunt, citrus canker, boll weevil, Medfly, gypsy moth, brucellosis and other pests and diseases.
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     Today, a proven relationship between USDA APHIS, State Departments of Agriculture, the private business sector and the scientific community has been successful in defending our country's agricultural interests. These mutual efforts could be even more successful with adequate funding and resources. North Carolina is very proud of our relationship with APHIS and especially in serving as the home for the APHIS Center for Plant Health located in Raleigh.
     However, recent domestic program activities within USDA and APHIS have not been able to meet the needs of twenty-first century agriculture due to limited resources. Any potential shift of agency components will likely further contribute to the lack of emphasis in this area. At the present time, individual states do not have the capabilities to fill in these gaps. If APHIS is transferred to Homeland Security, additional erosion of support for these essential program activities is likely.
     The unique relationship of APHIS with the agricultural community is paramount in order to maintain safe commerce for our agricultural products and to provide adequate security of our country's food and fiber resources. It is essential that the current role of APHIS in issuing sanitary and phytosanitary inspection certificates be continued to ensure the quality and wholesomeness of our agricultural products to international customers. APHIS also plays a key role by working with importers to prevent the importation of harmful pests and diseases that would devastate our agricultural economy.
     The responsibilities of APHIS, and their cooperators within state agriculture departments, encompass issues more far reaching than bio-terrorism and foreign animal disease. Failure to support these initiatives would jeopardize our nation's health status and result in severe negative economic impacts.
     North Carolina pioneered the concept of Homeland Security, creating the Emergency Programs Division in August 2001. It is the lead Division for the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services involving acts of terrorism and other emergencies. Through its multi-hazard initiative, it coordinates with Department of Health and Human Services, State Emergency Management, State Bureau of Investigation, North Carolina National Guard, the U.S. military, and other allied agencies.
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     The State Veterinarian, the Plant Protection Division, and the Emergency Programs Division maintain constant communication for increased effectiveness and efficiency. An effective department-wide emergency notification system and action plan is administered for all Divisions through Emergency Programs without the need to incorporate those Divisions into one unit.
     I encourage you to establish a USDA liaison APHIS office in the new Department of Homeland Security. This would result in the communication, coordination, and collaboration necessary to achieve national homeland security. One option could include: the new Department of Homeland Security having its own security officials housed at international points of entry and functioning in close cooperation with APHIS managers and officers to ensure a homeland security presence.
     Mr. Chairman, it is our position to be supportive of a strong homeland security system. However, it is also our duty to protect and support a safe national food supply. It is our strong opinion that APHIS should remain in USDA to assure that these vital support services and programs maintain their focus on U.S. agriculture. We also believe that APHIS is already providing a key role in the security of our country and this role should not be jeopardized. Without a safe and secure supply of food and fiber, the citizens of the United States could find themselves hostage to an even greater evil than the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.
     Thank you for allowing me to testify today before the U.S. House Agriculture Committee on the importance of APHIS to agriculture.
     
Statement of Bob Stallman
    Good morning I am Bob Stallman, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), which represents more than 5.1 million member families in the United States and Puerto Rico. Farm Bureau appreciates the opportunity to appear before the House Agriculture Committee regarding the President's initiative to create a Department of Homeland Security. This issue is extremely important and must be properly deliberated, debated and analyzed by numerous stakeholders.
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    We commend President Bush for his leadership on the issue of homeland security over the past nine months, and Governor Ridge for coordinating actions with the Federal departments and agencies to protect the United States from future terrorist attacks. AFBF supports the mission of the proposed Homeland Security Department. The need to protect and reduce the vulnerability of the United States to terrorism and to assist in the recovery from terrorist attacks are goals that are vitally important to agriculture. Since the business of agriculture is to help ensure that every American has an abundant and safe food supply, the U.S. government must take steps to minimize or prevent terrorist activities that may be directed toward American agriculture.
    The Department of Homeland Security proposal includes the transfer of the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) from the Department of Agriculture. Farm Bureau supports moving the portion of APHIS that administers laws relating to border protection activities to the new Department of Homeland Security. Utilizing these services to watch for intentional introductions of plant or animal disease serves an invaluable function in protecting our food production system. The economic damage caused by a contagious disease introduction could cost billions of dollars.
    Farm Bureau is concerned that an agency whose primary function is to deal with terrorist activities might not employ adequate resources or funding on many of the other functions that are currently under APHIS jurisdiction. Since no new funding is anticipated for the Department of Homeland Security, we are concerned that funding for functions other than those that truly relate to homeland security would be severely curtailed. The domestic programs now in place at APHIS are of vital importance to agriculture.
    By transferring all of APHIS to the new Department of Homeland Security, valuable programs would likely disappear. AFBF has worked diligently over the past several decades to help develop many of these programs to assist today's producers with a variety of production issues. To see these programs face possible reduction or extinction is not good policy either for the government or for agricultural producers.
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    AFBF believes that careful additional consideration should occur before all of the APHIS functions are transferred to the new department. APHIS is a large agency with a well established and recognized responsibility in protecting agriculture from established and emerging diseases and pests. These programs do not fit within the stated function of the new agency—to protect and respond to terrorist acts. Very few disease problems, or responses, have been due to terrorist activity. The vast majority of the problems which agriculture faces today, and with which APHIS presently deals, are unintentional introductions of plant and animal diseases. APHIS has jurisdiction over numerous other programs such as predator control, trade issues related to animal and plant health, the humane care and treatment of animals, veterinary certification, brucellosis, Johne's disease, Karnal bunt, citrus canker, trade-related issues with biotech crops and, wildlife services.
    APHIS also provides a trade support mechanism to safeguard agriculture products against harmful foreign pests and disease. As other countries are improving their agriculture trade programs, the U.S. could be disassembling and possibly trying to rebuild a system that is already the envy of the world. This could cost us our place as a major agricultural exporter and supplier of the safest food products in the world.
    Farm Bureau, along with other agricultural organizations, have prepared numerous questions on funding and operation of current programs within APHIS which may not meet the goals of the proposed Department. We hope to have the opportunity to discuss these questions and concerns with the Administration and Congress prior to the approval of a new Department, which may include some of the non-Homeland Security programs. The creation of a new Federal agency is a monumental task. As with any such venture, the law of unintentional consequences may apply. We want to ensure that such a creation will not weaken or destroy an integrated system that is quietly and efficiently working. Farm Bureau looks forward to working with Congress and the Administration on this monumental task and continuing the work of protecting our nation's food supply.
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Statement of Bob Odom
    Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to present testimony on proposed legislation creating a new Department of Homeland Security and transferring USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to this new department. My name is Bob Odom. I am the commissioner of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, and I appear here today on behalf of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) and my fellow commissioners, secretaries, and directors from across the nation.
    We strongly support the efforts of Congress and the Administration to decisively and expeditiously strengthen homeland security. As partners in the Federal system, state departments of agriculture are keenly aware of the need for an effective strategy to safeguard the nation's agricultural production tools, especially food safety and animal and plant health.
    We agree that greater coordination and integration among agencies is vital to biosecurity. Consolidating and incorporating essential animal and plant inspection activities at our nation's borders into a new department has been suggested. However, we urge you to fully and carefully examine how this proposal will affect the missions, tasks, and responsibilities of APHIS functions in all areas.
    As you know, APHIS is responsible for the safety of the nation's food supply through animal and plant health protection. APHIS is the lead Federal agency for veterinary accreditation, domestic and international plant and animal pests and diseases, animal welfare, and predator control. It is the agency responsible for the protection of plant and animal health through prevention, early detection, eradication and control of pests and diseases, whether introduced by accident or by deliberate act. APHIS deals with many pests, such as Medfly and Asian long-horned beetles, and diseases, such as BSE, citrus canker, Karnal bunt and bovine tuberculosis. These are not basic homeland security issues and will not receive the necessary emphasis in a homeland security agency. It is important to have the ability to distinguish bioterrorist attacks from natural outbreaks. We strongly believe that maintaining all Federal duties and responsibilities dealing with animal and plant health issues under one Federal agency is critical for the proper functioning and efficient management of agriculture and the provision of a safe food supply.
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    There is an extensive and complex state-Federal cooperative infrastructure currently in place to address animal and plant health matters which would be placed in serious jeopardy by proposed legislation. The backbone of our national animal and plant disease prevention, surveillance, and control programs is the cooperative effort between USDA and state agriclture and livestock agencies. States rely heavily on the APHIS state-Federal cooperative programs to provide critical resources and expertise in the areas of plant and animal health. For example, in my state, APHIS provides personnel and other resources for surveillance and control for such diseases as brucellosis, tuberculosis, pseudorabies, Equine Infectious Anemia and boll weevil eradication as well as foreign animal diseases which may be introduced intentionally or accidentally. If these types of domestic/state APHIS activities are diminished, most states would not have the ability to provide the resources and expertise to continue these vital programs.
    USDA has commissioned and received an external review with detailed recommendations for the safeguarding and protection of animal health with implications for homeland security. A second report on Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) provides additional review and proposals. The placement of APHIS into the Department of Homeland Security will split key agriculture offices between two Federal agencies. State departments of agriculture provide the front line of defense for agriculture biosecurity. The close association of industry, state agriculture and USDA promotes and enhances cooperation and efficiency in providing the needed security. The transfer of APHIS calls into question the ability of the Secretary of Agriculture to access the necessary professional resources and adequate emergency funds necessary to combat plant and animal pests and diseases whether introduced by accident or by deliberate act. We strongly believe that realigning USDA-APHIS activities and resources, as currently proposed, would be counterproductive. Rather than enhancing biosecurity, this realignment could actually have the unintended consequence of diminishing our biosecurity at the state level, which is our front line of prevention.
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    We believe that cross-utilization, full integration and coordination of APHIS functions with the Department of Homeland Security through the use of Memorandums of Understanding, cooperative agreements and prearranged contracts will enhance the United States' ability to protect our food supply more effectively than the transfer of these duties in APHIS to the new agency. State departments of agriculture strongly encourage you to consider this approach.
    The state departments of agriculture are aware of the vital need to strengthen protections against terrorist threats or attacks in the United States. We stand ready to work with Congress and the Administration to develop an effective strategy to safeguard our agricultural production tools.
    List of activities currently under APHIS responsibility that are not related to Homeland Security, Terrorism or Bioterrorism

     Animal disease diagnostics and foreign animal disease research carried out by National Veterinary Service Laboratories (NVSL) at Ames, Iowa and Plum Island, New York. These services are essential for the control and eradication of new and existing animal diseases.

     Animal disease research for both domestic and exotic diseases.

     Pest detection for plants beyond the points of entry.

     Administration of the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP) program.

     Domestic disease surveillance, monitoring and eradication programs: pseudorabies, brucellosis, tuberculosis, scrapie, azian influenza, chronic wasting disease, johne's disease, karnal bunt, citrus canker, exotic fruit flies, gypsy moth, golden nematode, imported fire ants, boll weevil eradication
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     APHIS administers and provides indemnity compensation for a number of animal and plant programs and has access to Commodity Credit Corporation funds.

     Administers the Wildlife Services and Animal Care programs.

     Promotes export and sales of US agriculture products overseas.

     Participates in international organizations to provide US input to set and maintain high health standards. Organizations such as Plant Protection convention and Office of International Epizooties (OIE).

     
Statement of Robert L. Guenther
    Good morning, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee. My name is Robert Guenther and I currently serve as vice president of government and public affairs for United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association. United is the national trade organization that represents the interests of growers, shippers, processors, brokers, wholesalers and distributors of produce, working together with their customers at retail and foodservice, and suppliers at every step in the distribution chain. On behalf of United's industry members, we appreciate the opportunity to appear before the committee to provide input on the proposal to relocate the Animal Plant, Health and Inspection Service to the proposed Department of Homeland Security.

     I also come before you on behalf of the Plant Safeguarding Alliance. The Plant Safeguarding Alliance facilitates cooperative action and communication among private sector organizations that have an interest in advocating the safeguarding of U.S. plant-based industries from invasive pests and diseases. Since its inception, the alliance has engaged in a broad range of issues and policies designed to improve the safeguarding system of plant-based industries, including enactment of the Plant Protection Act and implementation of the Safeguarding American Plant Resources report.
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     APHIS is critically important for all the organizations United and the Plant Safeguarding Alliance represent and an agency on which the fruit vegetable and horticulture industries rely for a variety of functions. These functions include trade facilitation; pest exclusion; detection and response; and domestic pest management. We believe the success that American agriculture has enjoyed in terms of controlling and eliminating domestic pests and safeguarding the United States from the introduction of foreign pests is unprecedented in the entire world. Indeed the relationship between our industries and APHIS has been cooperative and effective.
APHIS MOVING FORWARD
     Until 1999, responsibility for preventing entry of invasive plant pests into the United States has been delegated to APHIS-PPQ by the Congress through 11 separate Acts dating back to 1912. These laws provided the framework for ensuring orderly movement of agriculture products, commodities, and passengers across U.S. borders. Although Congress had provided APHIS-PPQ with the mandate for safeguarding activities, the system relied on collaboration with other USDA agencies, as well as several Federal agencies, state and local departments of agriculture, academia, environmental organizations and industry.

    In response to the quagmire of laws and recent outbreaks of pests and disease such as the Asian Longhorned beetle, citrus canker, plum pox virus, and Mexican fruit fly, the fruit and vegetable industry strongly supported the passage of H.R. 2559, the Plant Protection Act in June of 2000. This law aided in the consolidation and focus APHIS authorities under one law to empower the agency to carry out its mission of protecting plant resources.
     Additionally, the produce and horticulture industries represented by the Plant Safeguarding Alliance were actively involved in the development of over 300 recommendations developed by the National Plant Board in collaboration with public and private stakeholders to safeguard U.S. resources from invasive pests and disease. The Plant Safeguarding Review gave the agency top to bottom review of how it can improve to meet increasing expectations from the private sector with regard to plant safeguarding responsibilities.
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     Consequently, with the passage of the Plant Protection Act and the current implementation of the Plant Safeguarding Review recommendations, APHIS is well on its way to ensuring that plant agriculture industries continue to be competitive in the global marketplace, providing security for the domestic homeland, and protection for the plant based agriculture industry.
TRANSFER OF APHIS TO NEW DEPARTMENT HOMELAND SECURITY
     Given the events of September 11, it is appropriate for the Federal Government in partnership with states and the private sector to focus resources on adapting the current infrastructure to the scope of the ongoing threat at hand. It is the intention of organizations before you today to work with the Congress and the Administration to ensure that we have in place the proper safeguards to protect the public from threats of terrorism either foreign or domestic. Members of United and the Plant Safeguarding Alliance understand the need and rationale behind formation of the Department of Homeland Security to protect the nation's resources, economy, and citizens against the harm that terrorist attacks can cause. The consolidation and incorporation of certain existing security agencies and functions into the new Department seems logical. Anti-terrorism efforts must be focused and well coordinated. However the industry remains concerned and questions that such a move will fundamentally jeopardize delivery of inspection services critical to the safeguarding mission. It would be particularly disruptive at a time when APHIS has made two years of Safeguarding Review implementation progress to modernize and augment the safeguarding system. In addition, we must insure that the Federal Governments cannot diminish our vigilance to traditional pests that threaten domestic fruit, vegetable and horticultural production and that facilitate international trade in those products.
     One critical concern of the fruit and vegetable industry would be the transfer of APHIS to the new Department of Homeland Security, where anti-terrorism would be the top priority, while agricultural and environmental protection concerns would take a back seat. We fear that if this would be the case the result would be an ineffectual agency delivery of its plant-safeguarding mission.
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    The produce industry and Plant Safeguarding members fully support functional linkages between APHIS activities and the Department of Homeland Security. Appropriate and effective action to prevent or mitigate terrorist attacks does require real-time access to and proper analysis of all relevant information, including APHIS data that might reveal a deliberate attack on our food system. So, those linkages must include the collection, processing and sharing of data in ways that meet multiple purposes; the cross-training of APHIS inspectors so that they can be appropriately aware of and contributory toward anti-terrorism activities; and, coordination of presence and activities to maximize synergies. Such coordination should and must happen without sacrificing efficient and effective performance of the APHIS/PPQ plant safeguarding and trade facilitation responsibilities. We believe that thoughtful and measured consideration of the various proposals to strengthen homeland security will produce an outcome that strengthens existing programs while adding or modifying responsibilities as appropriate.

     The fruit, vegetable and horticulture industries would like to appear before you today in a position to provide clear and unequivocal direction to the committee as to the changes if any to APHIS that may be necessary. Unfortunately, like many organizations that have been before the committee today we remain with more questions than answers.
    We have been working both within our industries and with other aspects in agriculture that depend on APHIS to analyze the impacts of locating APHIS within a extraordinarily large and exclusively security focused department. Working with these groups we have developed a series of questions that we need to have answered as completely as possible prior to making any complete determination as to the proper course of action. In addition the groups we represent today have provided additional questions specific to the industries we represent.
     Attached to our testimony today is a copy of those questions. We encourage the committee to help us pursue answers to these critical questions. We believe that only at that point will policy makers within the Congress and the Administration have the information necessary to continue this process.
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    We look forward to working with the committee and the Administration to make the appropriate changes to the infrastructure to safeguard the homeland. We share with the Congress and the Administration the obligation to do every thing within our power to safeguard our domestic agricultural and horticultural production and to continue to provide our fellow Americans safe and abundant agricultural products.

    Thank you again for allowing us to appear before you today.
     
Statement of Lin Schmale
    Chairman Combest, Ranking Member Stenholm, and members of this committee, ANLA and SAF are grateful for the opportunity to present joint testimony on the importance of the Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service and the potential impact of various proposals to transfer APHIS or portions of APHIS to a new Department of Homeland Security. ANLA and SAF are the national trade associations for the nursery and landscape and floriculture industries, known collectively as environmental horticulture.
ECONOMIC SIGNIFICANCE OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL HORTICULTURE INDUSTRY
    According to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the nursery and greenhouse industry remains the fastest growing agricultural sector in cash receipts. The 1997 Census of Agriculture shows that nursery, greenhouse and floriculture crop sales totaled $10.9 billion in 1997, up from $7.6 billion in 1992. This represents a 43 percent increase in sales over the previous 1992 Census. Together these crops make up 11 percent of total U.S. farmgate receipts, up from 10 percent. Some 33,935 farms produced nursery plants as their principal crop; floriculture farms numbered 21,824.
    In crop value, nursery and greenhouse crops have surpassed wheat, cotton, and tobacco and are now the third largest plant crop—behind only corn and soybeans. Nursery and greenhouse crop production now ranks among the top five agricultural commodities in 24 states, and among the top 10 in 40 states. Growers produce thousands of varieties of cultivated nursery, bedding, foliage and potted flowering plants in a wide array of different forms and sizes on 1,305,052 acres of open ground and 1,799 million square feet under the protective cover of permanent or temporary greenhouses.
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ROLE AND IMPACT OF APHIS PROGRAMS IN AGRICULTURE AND THE NURSERY, LANDSCAPE AND FLORICULTURE INDUSTRIES
    The environmental horticulture industry is uniquely vulnerable to the ravages of invasive plant pests introduced from abroad. Virtually every introduced pest may find a home and suitable plant hosts somewhere in the U.S. and among the literally thousands of species and varieties grown commercially in nurseries and greenhouses. Once established, such pests disrupt the industry by
    causing direct crop damage, and spurring imposition of quarantines, inspection and certification requirements to slow further pest spread. For the purposes of clarity, references to plant pests in this testimony are intended to include all types of pests such as insects, pathogens, and weeds.
    As a result, the environmental horticulture industry was intimately involved in the design and passage of the nation's first quarantine laws early in the last century. The industry has since maintained a close and collaborative working relationship with USDA-APHIS given that agency's key role in excluding, detecting, and responding to serious agricultural and environmental pest threats.
OVERVIEW OF APHIS PROGRAMS IMPORTANT TO OUR INDUSTRY
    Key APHIS programs that are important to the nursery, landscape and floriculture industries are intended to achieve the following purposes: pest exclusion; detection and response; domestic pest management; and trade facilitation.
    Pest Exclusion—Given the vulnerability of our industries to plant pest introductions, we absolutely rely on APHIS programs designed to prevent new pest introductions. Historically, these programs have relied mainly on commodity inspection at the ports of entry into the U.S. However, experience has shown that arrival inspection has major inadequacies. As a result, the safeguarding system is evolving into a continuum of activities that occur offshore, at the ports of arrival, and in the interior of the U.S. These activities may include the design and execution of production and handling practices for foreign commodities to reduce or eliminate pest threats; monitoring to ensure that such practices are being followed and are effective; establishment of foreign preclearance programs; commodity inspection and testing abroad and at our ports; domestic surveillance for pests that may have slipped through the safety net, and emergency programs to contain or eradicate serious threats that have become established. Examples of current or recent eradication programs of great interest to our industry include Asian longhorned beetle, citrus canker, exotic fruit flies, and plum pox.
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    Pest Detection—This has been an underdeveloped area historically, but APHIS is now putting substantial resources toward broad-based detection programs to identify pest problems while it is still feasible and cost-effective to eradicate them. The ability to maintain and affirmatively demonstrate freedom from serious agricultural pests is key to sustaining a vibrant domestic agricultural industry and export market access for U.S. plants and plant products.
    Domestic Programs—APHIS maintains a number of Federal domestic programs designed to ensure a level playing field for commerce, and/or seek to manage the spread and threat of serious pests. These programs are usually implemented in cooperation with the states, and the private sector plays a critical role through informed compliance. Examples are programs to contain imported fire ant, gypsy moth, chrysanthemum white rust, and the so-called sudden oak death. APHIS also plays a key role in the development and implementation of long-term biological control programs for pests like the Pink Hibiscus Mealybug, which was just discovered in Florida, and numerous wildland and rangeland weeds.
    Trade Facilitation—With the reduction or elimination of tariffs and most other barriers to international trade, the importance of phytosanitary measures in international trade negotiations is at an all-time high. In addition, many sectors of U.S. agriculture are absolutely dependent upon foreign exports. Pursuant to international agreements including the World Trade Organization's agreement on sanitary and phytosanitary measures, the International Plant Protection Convention and NAFTA, APHIS plays a pivotal role in analyzing risk and establishing and enforcing measures
    necessary to protect plant health. APHIS also plays a key technical role in resolving trade disputes and gaining foreign market access for U.S. producers.
WHERE IS APHIS HEADED?
    Congressional and Bush administration proposals aside, APHIS is moving through a strategic process of restructuring and renewal to meet rising needs and expectations. In 1999, USDA requested an external review of APHIS programs and activities designed to safeguard U.S. plant resources. The review, conducted under the auspices of the National Plant Board (representing APHIS' state cooperators) was co-chaired by ANLA. Leadership of this broad-based review gives ANLA unique insights into APHIS role and performance. The Plant Safeguarding Review generated over 300 recommendations. APHIS established a process for developing and carrying out implementation plans, and this effort has shown substantial progress and commitment. Details can be viewed on the Internet at www.safeguarding.org.
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    A primary recommendation of the Plant Safeguarding Review was passage of the Plant Protection Act, which occurred in June 2000. This Act consolidated and enhanced APHIS authorities to better permit it to carry out its agricultural and environmental resource protection mandate. ANLA and SAF worked hard with Members of this committee to enact the Plant Protection Act.
    The salient point is that implementation of both the Plant Safeguarding Review and Plant Protection Act have stimulated the Agency to make advances forward along a very important and hard-won path of revitalization—designed to pursue a clear mission of protecting agricultural and environmental plant resources; to strengthen the Agency's science base and risk analysis capacity; to better manage information resources; to improve collaboration with stakeholders of all types; to improve transparency of Agency actions; and to strengthen linkages with related and cooperating Federal and state entities.
INITIAL PERSPECTIVES ON PROPOSALS TO TRANSFER APHIS TO A NEW DEPARMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
    The environmental horticulture industries join the rest of agriculture in encouraging the Bush Administration and Congress to pursue vigorously measures to secure our country from terrorism, including bioterrorism, as fully as is realistically possible. The Administration and some Congressional proposals include transferring all or parts of APHIS to a new Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Such proposals merit very careful consideration as to the opportunities and synergies that may be gained, or that may be lost.
    The opportunities driving these proposals appear obvious—APHIS has an infrastructure of inspectors at ports of arrival who are already tasked with monitoring incoming commodities and conveyances. APHIS also has user fee authorities whereby those engaged in travel and commerce underwrite most of the costs of such inspections.
    The risks of such a move are similarly apparent. APHIS is a complex and multi-faceted organization whose activities are integral to the health and well-being of U.S. agriculture. As already discussed, the Agency is in the midst of a major strategic renewal effort to enable programs and activities to meet vastly increased expectations. It seems plausible that even if a commitment were made to sustain all current program initiatives, much ground could be lost in a transition. Moreover, is it realistic to expect that current programs can be sustained—and future needs of agriculture met—under the auspices of a new department that has some shared interests, but also substantial new and different priorities?
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    Some have proposed simply moving just the port inspection activities of APHIS to a new department. To us, this approach seems even more problematic. Safeguarding is achieved through a continuum of activities: in foreign countries, at U.S. ports, and in the interior. The port inspection activities are an integral component, but by no means the only component, of the safeguarding system. In fact, there is a growing sense that port inspection activities largely constitute an oversight and monitoring function that helps to inform program managers on the effectiveness of a full range of risk reduction measures. It strikes us that moving just the border and port functions of APHIS is akin to removing an organ that is vital to the overall body's functioning. A split Agency would also jeopardize extensive cooperative program efforts already underway with the States and industry partners.
    There is an additional complication that Congress and the Administration must carefully consider—that is, the collection and disposition of user fee funds collected to fund agricultural quarantine inspection. The statutory authorities under which APHIS collects these fees direct that they are to fund timely and efficient provision of inspection services designed to protect agriculture from harmful pests. Diversion of these funds for other purposes could be both programmatically and legally problematic.
    Finally, we do see potential gains that could result from a strategic linkage between APHIS, a new Department of Homeland Security, and other agencies with inspection and clearance responsibilities. These gains may be achievable regardless of whether or how an APHIS transfer is pursued. For example, APHIS is pursuing broader user fee authorities to address gaps in the current system, such as a user fee for cargo inspection. A stronger and broader partnership with other departments and agencies could bring faster resolution of such authority and program gaps.
    APHIS is also pursuing the development and implementation of smart x-ray and other technologies that speed the efficiency and effectiveness of passenger and cargo clearance. It seems to us that biological materials including pests and prohibited commodities are just one of many types of contraband that must be detected. A shared focus on such technology needs by a new DHS could speed the development and deployment of such technologies.
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    In an era of rapid globalization and unprecedented trade and travel, the stakes are higher than ever for all of agriculture in terms of effective plant resource safeguarding and trade facilitation. APHIS' role and importance is more significant than ever. Can the growing demands on APHIS be met in a sustainable way through an unprecedented Agency transition?
    APHIS programs are vital to the well-being of the nursery, landscape and floriculture industries. Broader U.S. security interests are also vitally important. We respectfully urge Congress to carefully assess whether current proposals represent the best way to meet an array of complex needs. Of greatest concern to us is the direct loss or potential diminishment, over time, of the agricultural resource safeguarding mission. We ask Congress and the Administration to carefully explore how the U.S. can best establish the new linkages, training and resource deployment needed to carry out the vital homeland security functions while avoiding a major disruption and potential loss of key agricultural protection focus of APHIS that could result from such a major reorganization.
    The Plant Safeguarding Alliance is a broad coalition of plant-based agriculture groups who joined together to support APHIS implementation of the Plant Safeguarding Review and key provisions of the Plant Protection Act. The Plant Safeguarding Alliance has contributed to the development of a
    number of questions relating to current APHIS transfer proposals, and how those proposals might affect the current APHIS mission and ongoing programs. We have attached a list of these questions to our testimony.
    Mr. Chairman, ANLA and SAF thank this committee for the opportunity to share our views on the matter, and we pledge to work closely with you as options are assessed and a national course of action in this important matter is decided.
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QUESTIONS ON THE PRESIDENT'S PROPOSED DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY BY VARIOUS PLANT-BASED AGRICULTURAL ORGANIZATIONS
    June 14, 2002
    The mission of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is to protect America's plant resources by:
    Safeguarding plant resources from exotic invasive pests and diseases, Monitoring and managing agricultural pests and diseases in the United States, and Resolving and managing trade issues related to plant health.
    These mission areas are of vital importance to the U.S. agriculture industries. Every day, the activities of APHIS allow the plant agriculture industries to continue to be competitive in the global marketplace whether it is preventing a foreign pest of disease from entering the U.S. or by resolving a sanitary or phytosanitary issue in order to allow the export of U.S. products. APHIS has a very important role in the security of the homeland. They also have an important role in domestic protection for plant-based agriculture.
    Knowing the role that APHIS plays in animal and plant agriculture, we have developed these questions to better understand the President's proposal to transfer APHIS to the Department of Homeland Security. These questions are not prioritized and are meant to reflect the broad array of issues that APHIS handles that are of importance to plant agriculture. Animal agriculture faces similar issues and needs, and so is mentioned in some of these questions. The questions are categorized according to the main APHIS program areas.
    General: How will the issues that APHIS deals with that are not related to protecting from terrorism be prioritized within the new Department?
    In addition to the mission of APHIS to safeguard America's animal and plant resources from exotic pests and diseases (whether intentionally or accidentally introduced), APHIS also has missions that do not relate to protection from terrorism. They include: monitoring and managing agricultural pests and diseases existing in the US, resolving and managing trade issues related to animal or plant health, and ensuring the humane care and treatment of animals. These missions support animal and public health (through the control and eradication of zoonotic diseases) and the interests of agricultural industries.
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     How will APHIS maintain the linkage between the agriculture research function at USDA that are vital to the function of APHIS programs while being at this new Department?
Currently, the Agriculture Research Service and the Cooperative State Research, Extension and Education Service provide the research necessary to APHIS to carry out their mission. This close relationship allows APHIS to be able to coordinate the research with the emerging issues and needs of agriculture as they address plant and animal health issues.
    How would the State authorities work with the Federal component? Who would the field staff work for and with?
APHIS has entered into hundreds of cooperative agreements, compliance agreements, and memoranda of understanding with government and non-government entities.
     How would laboratories that conduct research for both APHIS and the Agricultural Research Service operate if they were transferred to the new Homeland Security Department?
    The APHIS import activities are being transferred to the Department of Homeland Security but the FDA and FSIS import inspection functions are not. Why?
    A major component of the Department of Homeland Security is border security. This includes the importation of food, animal feeds, drugs, biologics and other items that must be controlled at our borders to enhance human, animal and plant protection. Several agencies including APHIS, FDA and FSIS perform these critical functions.
     Will all of APHIS move? If so, how will the various component parts of APHIS be split among the organizational structure of Homeland security? Will APHIS lose the coordination and integration that it has now?
    With a the transfer of APHIS to the Dept of Homeland Security, will the biological and agricultural focus of APHIS inspection services fundamentally jeopardize delivery of inspection services be redirected or compromised in any way? Will APHIS' plant and animal safeguarding mission remain a top priority?
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    Will focus on homeland security create a more isolationist attitude (when in doubt, keep it out) and negatively impact the opportunities for agricultural trade?
     Will emphasis shift to more ''secrecy'' and less openness and participatory/collaborative approaches?
     Will reorganization consume resources and slow progress toward achieving better preparedness and response capabilities?
PEST AND DISEASE EXCLUSION
     How will the Department of Homeland Security maintain the importance of this mission assuming other security issues of border entry will arise?
APHIS' PPQ provides a valuable service for agriculture through inspection of incoming plant materials and prevention of entry of plant pests such as disease, insects, and noxious weeds.
     What will the new department do to ensure that the ability to gather, assess, and respond to data gathered through Agricultural Quarantine Inspection and other APHIS and cooperative efforts remains viable?
Many such activities involve coordination with state cooperators and industry. Will the security-oriented focus of a new Dept. of Homeland Security limit data-sharing essential to such cooperative efforts?
PLANT AND ANIMAL HEALTH MONITORING
    How will a major reorganization and transition affect the progress and ongoing effort to meaningfully strengthen plant and animal health programs?
    APHIS has made 2 years of progress implementing 300 substantive recommendations made in the Safeguarding American Plant Resources report that resulted from a USDA-requested external review. A similar review was done later for animal health programs, The Animal Health Safeguarding Review, and the recommendations are in the process of being implemented.
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     How would a new Department prioritize pest detection beyond the ports of entry? The most critical underdeveloped aspect of the plant safeguarding system in the U.S. is pest detection. Little in the way of programs and infrastructure exist to quickly detect pest and disease incursions beyond the ports, while the extent of an invasion is small and remedial actions may be most cost-effective.
PEST AND DISEASE MANAGEMENT
     How will Domestic Disease Eradication, Monitoring and Surveillance Programs be managed and executed? Imported fire ant, citrus canker, exotic fruit flies, gypsy moth, and golden nematode, et cetera. as well as many animal health programs. The mission of protecting animal & plant health involves a significant investment in domestic pest and disease eradication, surveillance and monitoring. These programs are essential for the economic viability of American agriculture both at the farm level and for exports of U.S. plant and animal products.
     How would the integrity of pest programs such as the Boll Weevil Eradication Program and the Pink Bollworm Eradication Program be sustained within the new department? APHIS carries out several programs that are very important to the U.S. cotton industry and plant agriculture but are not necessarily oriented to homeland security. These programs are essential for the economic viability of American agriculture both at the farm level and for exports of U.S. plant products.
     Would the Department of Homeland Security assume responsibility for providing compensation for producers in instances where the pest or disease is not related to an act of bioterrorism? If not, are provisions in place to have an appropriate agency within USDA administer indemnification in such instances? Will access to Commodity Credit Corporation funds for emergency response and indemnification be affected? Part of APHIS' responsibilities includes indemnifying animal owners and growers for pest and disease losses. For example, a recently proposed APHIS rule would establish new compensation guidelines for assisting poultry and livestock producers who lose animals to diseases such as foot and mouth disease and highly pathogenic avian influenza. On the plant side, indemnification has been provided for eradication efforts associated with plum pox virus, citrus canker, and karnal bunt.
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     Would the Department of Homeland Security have the resources to continue providing such support, even when such an outbreak was not caused by an incident of bioterrorism? Would it make more sense to have the new department determine whether the outbreak is an act of bioterrorism, then have USDA respond if the outbreak is not terrorism-related? APHIS provides significant logistical and scientific support during an animal disease outbreak. For instance, more than 200 APHIS employees have been sent to Virginia during the current low pathogenic avian influenza outbreak. This support has played an important role in slowing the spread of this disease.
    Trade Support. How would APHIS' current responsibilities for issuing sanitary and phytosanitary inspection certificates for grains and grain products to foreign countries be affected?
Such certificates are required by foreign buyers to document that U.S. commodities do not originate in U.S. regions known to have plant diseases, such as Karnal bunt. Would these functions better fit within another USDA agency, such as the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration?
     Who will conduct risk assessments and develop import policies with regard to imports to the U.S.? It is critical that careful reviews are made of other countries prior to allowing trade to take place. Import-Export staff and the staff at the Fort Collins facility have done the risk assessments.
     Who will help facilitate exports of plant and animal products and plants and animals? Currently, VS and PPQ work with companies to meet export requirements and sign export certificates. VS and PPQ are critical to providing the scientific expertise to address sanitary and phytosanitary trade issues. This is important to the economic viability of the animal and plant industries
     Will APHIS activities to promote exports continue in this new Department? Export support requires close liaison with other USDA personnel like the Foreign Agricultural Service. There is concern that export issues are not a homeland security issue and therefore would not have the same priority status for funding and support as they currently do at USDA. USDA APHIS is considered the competent authority on animal and plant health issues. This is vital to support the continued expansion of US agricultural sales throughout the world. Import/export negotiations often need to be carried out together—quid pro quo's and the need to avoid retaliatory tariffs in response to security measures.
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     How will those efforts by APHIS-PPQ to conduct risk assessments be affected by a potential shift in mission under a new Department?
APHIS-PPQ has faced a large and persistent backlog of risk assessments to support commodity import and export decisions. Furthermore, the Agency has come under increased scrutiny relative to the scientific strength and transparency of those assessments. Major efforts are underway to build scientific capacity, risk assessment transparency, and stakeholder collaboration.
     Who will work with the International Plant Protection Convention and the Office of International Epizootics to continue to provide U.S. input into the setting of international health standards? It is critical that the U.S. is well represented in these discussions and has staff to provide extensive review and comments on proposed changes in these standards.
     What will happen to the trade support provided by the Trade Support Team in International Services? Trade is very important to the agriculture industries and this group is important in resolving trade issues related to health.
    What will happen to the assistance provided to countries with FMD and other disease/pests to help them eradicate these diseases?
It is important to help fight diseases in other countries as well as in the United States.
     How would such efforts to reduce risks of pest and disease introduction at the source be affected? APHIS is increasingly pursuing off-shore risk reduction strategies as the first line of defense against plant and animal pest risks. Such strategies are generally coordinated with APHIS International Services staff and foreign countries' phytosanitary officials.
     Will APHIS continue to provide scientific and technical expertise in the trade arena if it is moved top the Department of Homeland Security? Another critical matter relates to trade. APHIS is a major player when it comes to the World Trade Organization, the Sanitary and Phytosanitary and Technical Barriers to Trade agreements. There is constant interaction with FAS, FSIS, GIPSA, ARS and perhaps other agencies within USDA on these matters.
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RELATED SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL SERVICES.
     How would APHIS' responsibilities concerning approvals of biotech crops fit within the new Department of Homeland Security? APHIS currently regulates field trials for biotech events and regulates interstate shipments of biotech-enhanced plants under the Plant Protection Act. APHIS also reviews and approves petitions of biotech providers seeking a ''determination of non-regulated status'' before a biotech variety can be transported and commercialized for unrestricted movement in interstate commerce.
     How would effort by APHIS methods development centers are developing tools and techniques for pest exclusion and detection be affected? These efforts supplement the more basic research support of USDA's Agricultural Research Service and Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service.
     Who will administer the veterinary accreditation program? The veterinary accreditation program is very important to the disease eradication programs and the movement of livestock in the U.S. Currently, important revisions are underway with the program.
     Who will work with the identification initiatives underway? VS is working with various groups to help develop the appropriate identification procedures.
    Questions specific to the President's book on The Department of Homeland Security Page 2 explains that the ''Department would oversee Federal Government assistance in the domestic disaster preparedness training of first responders.'' Do disasters include outbreaks in the US of exotic or emerging animal diseases? If so, will the training of first responders include training of veterinarians who will be the first responders to animal disease outbreaks? On page 2, the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Countermeasures paragraphs mention and discuss preparedness for and responding to terrorism, including agro-terrorism.
     Will preparedness for and response to accidentally introduced animal and plant diseases also be addressed by the Department?
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Under Science and Technology on page 3, the Department ''would also assist state and local public safety agencies by evaluating equipment and setting standards.'' Will the Department similarly assist state agriculture agencies?
     On page 3 under Other Key Components, it is stated, ''The Department would consolidate and streamline relations with the Federal Government for America's state and local governments.'' This will not be true for state agriculture agencies if they need to coordinate with both the USDA and the Department of Homeland Security. Under Incident Management on page 12, the document states, ''The Department would work with Federal, State, and local public safety organizations to build a comprehensive national incident management system for response to terrorist incidents and natural disasters.'' Will the Department also work with state agriculture organizations to include them in the national incident management system for response to agro-terrorism, natural disasters affecting agriculture, and disease outbreaks? Will plant and animal emergencies be included in the ''one genuinely all-hazard plan''?
     
Statement of James F. Dodson
    Good afternoon. My name is Jimmy Dodson and I operate a diversified family farming operation in Robstown, TX. My principal cash crop is cotton and my farm is in an active boll weevil eradication zone. I am testifying today on behalf of the National Cotton Council of America (NCC). The National Cotton Council is the central organization of the United States cotton industry. Its members include producers, ginners, oilseed crushers, merchants, cooperatives, warehousemen, and textile manufacturers. I currently serve as the President of the Cotton Foundation and Chairman of the National Cotton Council's Environmental Task Force.
    Mr. Chairman, Mr. Stenholm, Members of the committee—thank you for holding today's hearing to allow us to provide comments on the proposal to move the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to the new Department of Homeland Security (DHS). I want to be very clear—the National Cotton Council supports the President in his resolve to protect our country from the threat of terrorism. We appreciate the President's recognition that agriculture is a high priority and can play a major role for homeland security. As we discuss the details of this new department, do not let our questions or concerns about specific components of this proposal be construed as a lack of concern about homeland security.
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    In the legislation sent to Congress, the Administration has proposed the transfer of APHIS in its entirety into the new department. The overall mission of APHIS is to protect America's animal and plant resources and includes a diverse set of responsibilities from managing and monitoring agricultural pests and diseases existing in the U.S., to animal welfare, to regulating crops developed through biotechnology. These functions are accomplished through collaborative efforts with other USDA agencies as well as with hundreds of Federal, State, international, and nongovernmental organizations.
    It is apparent that APHIS' role in preventing exotic pests and diseases from entering the U.S. would serve a critical purpose in the Department of Homeland Security. There are many other programs carried out by APHIS which do not readily appear germane to homeland security. This inconsistency raises a very basic question for Congress as it creates this new Federal department. That question is: Does the Administration and Congress view homeland security in a narrow sense which would focus strictly on terrorist activities from both international and domestic sources? Or, will homeland security be defined in a broader sense to include protection of our economy, our natural resources, and our food safety and supply? If a broad definition is adopted, then, many of APHIS' functions might be integrated into the new DHS without a loss of effectiveness. However, if a narrow view is adopted, many of the roles of APHIS that are critical to American agriculture might receive less priority and reduced funding. Programs like the Boll Weevil and Pink Bollworm Eradication Programs, oversight of bilateral agreements with other cotton producing countries, and risk assessment and permitting of new biotechnology crops might not receive high priority in a new department. I will devote the balance of my testimony to reviewing some of our specific questions and concerns with the wholesale transfer of APHIS to the Department of Homeland Security.
    USDA has two sister agencies upon which the U.S. cotton industry heavily relies. The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is the research agency and APHIS is the action agency our industry depends upon to develop, validate, and implement new and innovative technology coming out of ARS Research Laboratories and the State University research programs. APHIS is a critical link in technology development and delivery to USDA's grass roots customers. Mutual residence within USDA enhances coordination between ARS and APHIS.
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    APHIS has been vital in a program to eradicate the boll weevil, a key cotton pest, from the U.S. The boll weevil eradication effort started in North Carolina in 1978. Today, the eradication program is active on over 10 million acres in the U.S.—almost 60 percent of our cotton acreage. More than 30 percent of the acres planted to cotton are completely free of the boll weevil. APHIS provides critical national coordination of the boll weevil eradication program by working closely with producer-led state eradication foundations and the NCC's Boll Weevil Action Committee. APHIS provides coordinated program administration and allocates Federal funds. Eradicated areas have increased yields, sharply reduced insecticide usage and lower control costs. NCC estimates that for every $1 spent on boll weevil eradication, $12 will accrue to our economy. If sufficient funding is available, we believe the boll weevil will be eradicated within the next 6–10 years. We have very serious concerns about whether the new Department of Homeland Security would aggressively seek the funding for the annual 30 percent cost share. We also have concerns about whether APHIS resources and personnel would continue to place high priority on the completion of this successful program.
    APHIS is also working with cotton farmers to eradicate another important pest in our western states—the pink bollworm. U.S. cotton producers, along with producers in Mexico, have now committed to implement programs to eradicate the pink bollworm from the U.S. and adjacent areas in Northern Mexico. APHIS is essential to program implementation because of their ability to coordinate activities of budget planning, equipment coordination, and program implementation across state lines. APHIS and NCC's Pink Bollworm Action Committee form a partnership critically important for program planning and operational oversight. Since Mexico must be a partner, the APHIS role in international programs is absolutely essential. Again, we are concerned about the priority this program would receive if APHIS is absorbed into the new department.
    APHIS also performs a vital role in facilitating exports of U.S. cotton and cotton products. It also monitors imported cotton to protect U.S. farmers from pests and diseases. Confidence in APHIS's technical capabilities and strict adherence to process provide assurance to overseas buyers of U.S. fiber and products that imported goods meet agreed upon phytosanitary standards. In recent months, APHIS has actively worked to eliminate redundant fumigation requirements for U.S. exports of cotton to Peru, Colombia, and Pakistan. This effort has enhanced U.S. competitiveness in those markets by reducing costs and fumigant use.
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    Mr. Chairman, I thank you again for this opportunity to provide comments on these issues. In summary, the National Cotton Council supports the President's proposal for a Department of Homeland Security. Mr. Chairman, we are not prepared to provide specific recommendations until certain questions and concerns are clarified. However, we look forward to working with you and your colleagues to ensure that APHIS can continue to carry out the critical functions I have illustrated in my statement.
    We understand the urgency of this matter. At the same time, we urge Members of this committee to move judiciously so that our new Department of Homeland Security will be as efficient and effective as possible while still protecting agricultural concerns.
     
Statement of Jerry Sweeney, President, Vanguard Pest Control Company and Robert Cronin, President, Town and Country Pest Control

    Thank you very much for the opportunity to submit written testimony for the June 26 hearing record on the administration's proposal to move the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to a new Department of Homeland Security. We understand the need to protect our borders from both terrorist threats and those of invasive species like the Asian longhorned beetle, and therefore appreciate the opportunity for a dialogue on APHIS' role in homeland security.
    The proposal to move APHIS to the Department of Homeland Security raises many questions about APHIS' mission in protecting America's natural resources from invasive pests and plan and animal diseases. Whether or not APHIS' Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) functions are moved to a new Department or remain under the jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture, it is vital that APHIS increase the number of inspections that it currently conducts at U.S. ports, especially our maritime ports. The opportunity for terrorist groups to ship weapons of mass destruction—undetected—into our country via cargo containers is clear and present. In addition, over the past decade we have seen firsthand an increase in the number of destructive wood boring pests entering our country in solid wood packing material. The Asian longhorned beetle infestation of trees in New York and Illinois and of warehouses in numerous states shows that these pests were not detected at the port of entry.
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    One of the primary reasons that these pests have eluded detection and been able to escape into the environment is that only a miniscule percentage of cargo arriving at our ports is actually inspected by APHIS. Further, these inspections are simply ''tailgate inspections,'' where the container is backed into a loading dock, the doors opened and whatever cargo is located by the doors is actually looked at (approximately 3–5% of the cargo inside the container) rather than a thorough inspection that would involve removing cargo from its container for 100 percent inspection to determine if pests are burrowed deep inside wood packing material or other high risk commodities associated with quarantine significant pests.
    An additional reason for the recent outbreaks of destructive pests and diseases such as the Asian longhorned beetle is APHIS' tendency to rely on exporting countries to treat cargo, rather than demanding that high-risk cargo be fumigated at the U.S. port of entry under the direct supervision of an APHIS inspector. For example, a few years ago APHIS implemented an interim rule that requires that cargo from China containing solid wood packing material be fumigated in China, prior to export to the U.S., despite the fact that the Chinese government admitted that it did not have the infrastructure or trained fumigators to carry out proper treatment. There is documented history showing numerous interceptions of live pests—despite the fact that the shipments arrived with a valid foreign fumigation certificate. Relying on foreign countries to treat cargo increases the likelihood that destructive pests could enter our borders.
     An increase in the number of thorough inspections performed by APHIS would greatly decrease the significant threat to agriculture and our economy and at the same time would provide an excellent opportunity to aid in determining whether any potential terrorist threats such as explosives or biological agents exist.
    Whether or not PPQ functions remain within the Department of Agriculture or are transferred to a new Department of Homeland Security, it is important to remember that keeping destructive plant and animal pests and diseases out of the United States is essential for the prosperity of American agriculture and our entire national economy. The term border protection as it relates to APHIS must include protection from both natural and terrorist threats. The mission of protecting America from quarantine significant pests must not become subservient to protecting against terrorist threats. The best way to ensure that cargo entering our country does not pose any natural or terrorist threat to the United States is to dramatically increase the number of APHIS inspections at the ports of entry, require that these inspections be thorough enough to detect pest and other threats, and rely on trained and U.S. certified quarantine fumigators to treat this cargo, rather than relying on foreign governments to carry out this important task.
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Statement of The National Association of Animal Breeders
    Thank you for this opportunity to present the views of the National Association of Animal Breeders to the House Agriculture Committee on the proposed move of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to the Department of Homeland Security. We support the U.S. Government's vital role in protecting domestic agriculture and our public from foreign pests and diseases that could devastate our economy and food supply.
    Our organization represents cooperative and private sector livestock genetics companies that, in addition to meeting the demand of domestic customers, export bovine semen to over 95 countries in the world. More than forty percent of all the bovine semen that is produced in the United States is sent into the export market. Our members are very dependent on APHIS for the administration of health certificates, the negotiation of trade regulations and facilitating the import and export of animals and animal products. We find that the National Center for Import and Export (NCIE) is already short-staffed and under funded and fear that if their office is absorbed into a Department of Homeland Security, resources will become even scarcer. The world market is a highly competitive area that places a premium on customer service and speed. Moving the import/export function of APHIS will most likely give this important function an even lower priority.
    While we understand the importance of protecting U.S. borders, we are afraid that the heightened emphasis on protection and keeping out foreign pests and diseases could detract from the normal export functions of APHIS. There is, or can be, such a difference between the organizational mind-set of being an exporter vs. an importer, and especially from the regulatory perspective. There are some roles of APHIS that could be relinquished to the Homeland Security Department because careful monitoring of imports is one manner of protecting the Homeland. However, if the mindset of the entire regulatory agency is shifted toward protection, we fear there could be less emphasis on maintaining our emphasis on opening markets for U.S. genetic exports.
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    APHIS veterinarians who are stationed overseas interface with international organizations like the Office of International Epizootics work to ensure that non-tariff trade barriers to U.S. exports of semen are not established under the guise of health and science concerns. Our industry faces significant trade barriers that have yet to be addressed within the framework of the WTO Doha negotiations. One way we are able to monitor the actions of our competitors and to fight for market access is through U.S. representation on international organizations and within USDA offices overseas.
    Bovine semen trade is international and many U.S. companies import a significant amount of semen so the U.S. can maintain our top position in the area of dairy production and genetics. Therefore an open-market orientation, within the bounds of appropriate regulatory and health requirements is vital to the long-term health of the U.S. dairy industry. The National Center for Import and Export is critical to the future competitiveness of the bovine genetics industry. We think it will be very difficult to reconcile homeland protection that has a stronger emphasis on protection with our current export, open-market orientation.
    As the Department of Agriculture and the Administration consider allowing some functions of APHIS to remain at the Department, we ask that the NCIE be considered in this proposal. This department currently has trouble competing for adequate resources, and within a large department like Homeland Security, we are afraid it will have fewer resources and difficulty negotiating such a large bureaucracy.
    Thank you for this opportunity to present our views. We hope that USDA continues to consider part of its mission as assisting and enhancing the export of agriculture products from a variety of U.S. producers.
     
Statement of the American Turkey Foundation
    The National Turkey Federation (NTF) represents every U.S. turkey processor as well as turkey growers, breeders, hatchery owners and allied companies that service the turkey industry. NTF is the only national trade association representing the U.S. turkey industry exclusively. NTF members have significant interaction with USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and, as a result, they have a significant interest in the administration's proposal to incorporate all of APHIS into the proposed new Department of Homeland Security. We thank the committee for the opportunity to submit comments on the administration's proposal.
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    NTF's Executive Committee expects to establish final policy regarding this proposal at its upcoming mid-July meeting. In the interim, NTF would like to discuss briefly its views on the creation of a Department of Homeland Security and the importance of APHIS to the poultry industry. NTF also would like to raise several questions we believe should be answered before Congress endorses the wholesale movement of APHIS to the proposed new department.
HOMELAND SECURITY
    NTF members strongly support the administration's efforts to combat terrorism and the creation of a strong, effective Department of Homeland Security. However, NTF also believes it is in the national interest to ensure the new department is focused exclusively on enhancing the national security and protecting the United States from terrorist attacks.
    NTF encourages Congress and the administration to review carefully the proposed transfer of power to the new department to ensure that—to the greatest degree possible—the department avoids assuming responsibilities not directly related to national security. Two problems could result from the assumption of too many non-security functions. First, the excess workload could detract from the proposed department's core mission. Second, the new department might not be in a position to perform these non-security functions in as effective a manner as they currently are being performed at APHIS. In short, moving too many non-security government services could create a ''lose-lose'' scenario that harms both the Department of Homeland Security and the existing recipients of the government services.
APHIS AND THE TURKEY INDUSTRY
    APHIS provides several critical functions—none of which directly affect national security—to the turkey industry. Current events underscore the importance of two of these functions and the need to continue them at their current level, regardless of where APHIS is located.
    One is APHIS' role in trade issues. The agency administers the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP), a cooperative Federal-local-industry program that promotes the health of U.S. poultry and certifies breeding stock as disease-free and eligible for international shipment. Additionally, APHIS assists U.S. trade negotiators in resolving disputes that revolve around animal disease issues. Exports now represent almost 10 percent of all U.S. turkey sales. Given the poultry industry's current trade problems with Russia, the industry would suffer serious harm if APHIS' trade-related functions were lost or minimized in the move to the new Homeland Security Department.
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    APHIS also is responsible for helping control disease outbreaks and providing indemnification for growers and others in industry when an outbreak causes serious losses. Currently, the poultry industry is battling a severe outbreak of low-pathogenic avian influenza (AI). The outbreak has claimed nearly five million turkeys and chickens in Virginia alone and has cost the industry almost $140 million so far. APHIS sent more than 200 employees into the field in Virginia, and they have played an important role in slowing the spread of the disease. The agency also has prepared a $69.2 million indemnification proposal to help offset losses associated with the outbreak. Finally, the agency is preparing a long-term AI control program it hopes to implement in Fiscal Year 2003 or FY 2004. These programs are essential, and they are programs industry cannot perform for itself. Congress and the administration must ensure these programs continue, either at the new department or at an appropriate agency in USDA.
CRITICAL QUESTIONS
    Congress has a duty to ensure the new Department of Homeland Security is designed to fight terrorism effectively and efficiently. It also must ensure that important government functions do not get lost or diminished in the process of creating the new department. Accordingly, we believe Congress should seek answers to several important questions before creating the new department or moving all of APHIS to it.
    First, Congress must be assured that the new department can administer, with no loss of effectiveness, NPIP, APHIS' other trade-support functions and APHIS' animal health programs.
    Second, Congress must be certain that the new department can administer, again with no loss of effectiveness, APHIS' disease-control and eradication programs. It also must ensure that the new department's disease-control and eradication efforts will be applied with full force even in those instances when the disease outbreak is not suspected to be the result of terrorist activities.
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    Third, Congress must establish how indemnification programs would work if APHIS is transferred to the new department. At this point, the administration does not appear interested in moving any control of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) to the Department of Homeland Security. Since CCC funds typically are used to indemnify losses from disease outbreaks, Congress must be satisfied that APHIS and the Department of Homeland Security can coordinate their actions effectively when indemnification concerns arise.
    Fourth, Congress should explore with the administration the possibility of leaving APHIS' non-security functions at USDA.
    The National Turkey Federation supports the creation of a new Department of Homeland Security, but the new department should not be created with such haste that we do irreparable harm to valuable existing government programs. We urge Congress to seek comprehensive answers to the questions we have raised above and to the questions raised by others in the agriculture. Congress should exercise its prerogative to offer alternative proposals should moving all of APHIS to the new department prove unworkable.
    We are grateful to the committee for its diligent efforts to protect the agriculture community's interest in this process, and we again offer thanks for the opportunity to submit these comments.
     
Statement of L. Val Giddings
    Mr. Chairman and members of the committee I appreciate the opportunity to submit this written statement for the record on behalf of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO). BIO represents more than 1,100 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations in all 50 U.S. states. BIO members are involved in the research and development of health care, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.
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    We unfortunately find ourselves operating in a new era of hostile acts directed at the United States. Given this reality, an amplified focus on how best to protect the health and welfare of our citizens is prudent and justifiable. BIO fully supports the President's efforts to put in place the most effective measures to ensure the safety and security of all Americans. BIO has worked very closely with the Administration on strategies to protect American citizens from new threats of biological attacks, particularly providing input on possible vaccines, therapeutics, as well as sensor devices.
    In addition to solutions identified in the biomedical sector, many BIO member companies engaged in agriculture have the potential to provide valuable insights and technological breakthroughs that work toward improving food security. Our agriculture biotechnology companies are at the forefront in the development of early detection systems for pathogens, and innovative methods to prevent or mitigate plant and animal diseases. We believe there is tremendous potential for food security benefits derived through biotechnology by cooperating and coordinating with a newly formed Department of Homeland Security.
BIOTECHNOLOGY AND APHIS
    Included in the President's initiative is a proposal to transfer the Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS), in whole or in part, to a newly created Department of Homeland Security. In addition to its role of inspecting agricultural imports at our borders and ports of entry, APHIS has over two dozen other widely varying and important functions as part of its responsibility to safeguard American agriculture. One of these roles is to serve as an instrumental part of the coordinated regulatory framework that oversees agriculture biotechnology.
    Biotechnology products in the United States are regulated according to a system set forth by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in 1986. Building on existing authorities for ensuring the safety of food and agriculture, the Coordinated Framework assigns lead responsibility for biotechnology products to the appropriate regulatory agency, and sets out principles for coordinated and cooperative reviews in areas where responsibilities or authorities adjoin or overlap. Under the authority of the Federal Plant Pest Act, the Plant Quarantine Act, National Environmental Protection Act, and related statutes, APHIS governs the field testing and commercial growing of crops improved through biotechnology.
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    BIO's member companies enhancing food and agriculture through biotechnology rely heavily on the rigorous and publicly available reviews provided by the regulatory apparatus currently in place. The Administration has made every effort to provide relevant agencies the tools necessary to regulatory agriculture biotechnology. Just recently, a proposal was offered to clarify and strengthen the biotech regulatory functions housed within APHIS, proposals that will strengthen APHIS' role and enable the enormously successful US experience to be more effectively shared with interested parties around the world. BIO is interested in working closely with the House Agriculture Committee and the Administration as we move forward, to ensure that whatever action taken is adopted with full understanding of its implications. BIO notes that other sectors of the agriculture community have raised a number of important and well-framed questions that seem relevant. In particular, BIO offers the following biotechnology specific questions that we believe would be useful to consider as this issue is explored further.
     Many of the functions of APHIS are not closely related to national security viewed in a traditional narrow sense. In light of the social and economic realities and trends of the 21st century, there is a strong argument to be made in favor of including many of these functions under Homeland Security. How will the administration and management of Homeland Security acknowledge and address this modern complexity to ensure that vital functions are not impaired or given short shrift in comparison with traditional security perspectives?
     How would APHIS' oversight functions for agricultural biotechnology be maintained and integrated with other agencies under the coordinated framework if the agency were transferred to the Department of Homeland Security?
     How will APHIS maintain its linkages with USDA agencies performing vital agriculture biotechnology research, and with other parts of USDA that are vitally linked with APHIS and whose functions are interwoven?
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    The Agriculture Research Service and a number of land-grant colleges and universities (through grants from the Cooperative State Research Extension and Education Service) perform extremely important research in the area of agriculture biotechnology. The American farmer relies heavily on the ability of APHIS to link with agricultural research entities in order to develop new products and tools to keep them productive and competitive in a world marketplace.
     How will the mission of a new Department of Homeland Security affect the biotechnology products approval process at APHIS?
    The new Department of Homeland Security will look to draw on the expertise of APHIS in the area of animal and plant diseases. APHIS, however, also houses a significant wealth of knowledge on agricultural biotechnology. Before crops enhanced through biotechnology can be commercialized they must be approval by a stringent approval process at APHIS. The agriculture biotechnology industry relies on a clearly articulated path for approval of new biotech-enhance products for the market.
     

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