The North American Deer Farmers Association (NADeFA), the nation’s leading voice for the cervid industry, applauds and increase in USDA’s Cervid Health program in the House Agriculture Appropriations bill.

The bill includes $7 million for cervid health under the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). That represents an increase of $3 million over what has been appropriated over last years and is the third increase in the last four years. The language in the bill’s report directly addresses the need for this money to provide indemnity to deer farmers.

The bill designates the $3 million increase specifically for surveillance and testing for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in wild deer. This is an important compliment to NADeFA’s ongoing legislative effort to increase funding to $15 million annually for research into a vaccine, genetic resistance, and other steps to eradicating CWD in all deer herds.

This funding comes on the heels of our annual legislative fly-in which is a key piece to the work NADeFA members, leadership, and Capitol Hill Consulting Group has done continuously over the last five years.  Our meetings with appropriators and committee staff lay the groundwork for these increases in funding.

NADeFA Executive Director Shawn Schafer said of the increase, “NADeFA is dedicated to ensuring that all cervids are healthy.  The increase in the House Ag Approps bill makes that same commitment for both farmed and wild deer herds. Working together with our industry partners, federal and state governments and research institutions we will beat this disease.”  He also added: “This funding continues to be one prong in our efforts to support our members and protect our producers’ ability to maintain their livelihood while decreasing the volume of indemnity which will save taxpayers’ money.”

NADeFA thanks Congress for working with us on this important issue.

NADeFA has worked closely with USDA-APHIS for more than two decades on a variety of issues related to cervid health and national guidelines. The CWD Herd Certification Program, for example, is a voluntary, cooperative program that allows participating cervid producers to achieve herd certification status of their cervid herds and to meet the requirements for the interstate movement of farmed cervids.