Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman announced that she has authorized an additional $32 million for fiscal year 2001/2002 to increase inspection personnel at major U.S. ports of entry to protect against animal and plant diseases like foot-and-mouth disease.

This $32 million will be used to hire 127 permanent officers and technicians, 27 canine officers, 20 veterinarians and 173 temporary inspector positions. These new employees will be placed at critical ports and international airports to protect against pests and disease.

In addition, Veneman also provided details of the Bush Administration’s fiscal year 2002 agriculture budget, which includes “responsible increases for plant pests and animal disease programs, food safety, trade programs and other important Department activities.” The 2002 budget provides $849 million in funding for USDA’s Animal Plant Health and Inspection Service, up $174 million over the 2001 budget. The budget also requests an additional $13 million for the Agriculture Quarantine Inspection Program, which helps protect the U.S. against animal diseases like foot-and-mouth and BSE.