- On July 31, 2019
The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee unanimously voted to advance a bill that would address the shortage of agricultural specialists and inspectors at ports of entry. According to Customs and Border Patrol estimates, there is currently a shortage of nearly 700 inspectors across the country. A bipartisan group of senators –Gary Peters (D-MI), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and John Cornyn (R-TX) – introduced the bill in the Senate.
The Protecting America’s Food and Agriculture Act of 2019 would authorize the annual hiring of 240 agricultural specialists until the workforce shortage is filled, as well as 200 additional dedicated agricultural technicians for administrative and support roles. The bill further authorizes the training and assignment of 20 new canine teams per year.
Recognizing the need for additional agricultural inspectors, ASTA is a strong proponent of this legislation and will work with Senate staff to provide support as the bill moves to the floor.