Smith, Bishop, Ferguson & Kildee Introduce Bill to Authorize Center that Helps Protect U.S. Agriculture from Foreign Pests and Diseases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Adrian Smith (NE-03), Congressman Drew Ferguson (GA-03), Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), and Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02) have introduced H.R. 8432, the Beagle Brigade Act of 2022 in the House of Representatives. The legislation would provide permanent authorization for the National Detector Dog Training Center, located in Newnan, Georgia. The center extensively trains detector dogs and their U.S. Customs and Border Protection handlers to sniff out prohibited agricultural items that could carry foreign plant pests or animal diseases into our country. Senators Raphael Warnock (GA) and Joni Ernst (IA) introduced the companion bill in the U.S. Senate.
“Trade is critical to our supply chain; however we must ensure we are protecting U.S. agriculture in the process,” said Congressman Smith. “Food security is vital to keeping the American people safe and the U.S. agriculture industry strong. This bill supports U.S. agriculture, while keeping food prices down, and is a great step to protect our food supply from unauthorized produce carrying contaminants that threaten American producers. I thank Reps. Bishop, Ferguson and Kildee for partnering with me on this legislation.”
“U.S. agriculture has a trillion dollar impact on America’s economy. The Beagle Brigade and their human handlers are working every day to keep foreign pests and diseases out of the country,” said Congressman Bishop. “By permanently establishing the National Detector Dog Training Center, we are protecting U.S. agriculture and food supply from harm, keeping prices down at supermarkets for families, and maintaining export markets for American farmers. I am happy to lead this effort with my colleagues, Congressmen Drew Ferguson, Dan Kildee, and Adrian Smith.”
“The National Detector Dog Training Center, in Georgia’s 3rd Congressional District, does important work to properly train detector dogs to sniff out prohibited agricultural items in domestic and international trade,” said Congressman Ferguson. “This important bill will permanently authorize the training center to ensure America’s food supply chain stays protected from potentially devastating foreign pests and disease. I thank my colleagues for their leadership and participation, and look forward to our bill becoming law.”
“I’m proud to partner with Republicans and Democrats to introduce the Beagle Brigade Act so we can improve the inspection of food imports,” said Congressman Kildee. “This legislation will help protect American crops and livestock from harmful diseases like African Swine Flu that could decimate our domestic hog population. Michigan’s farmers feed our families every day and this bill will help to protect our local food supply from harm.”
Providing permanent authorization for the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Detector Dog Training Center ensures the United States has a crucial tool in its fight against foreign pests and diseases that have the potential to devastate all sectors of the agriculture economy. Over 50 prominent agricultural, veterinary, and trade organizations support the legislation.
The Center primarily trains dogs—mostly beagles—to detect fruits, vegetables, and meats in international passenger baggage, mailed packages, and vehicles entering the United States. Dogs are selected from animal shelters, rescue groups, and private owners, and those that do not complete training are offered for adoption.