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the West and South, it would be necessary to add to inspection and quarantine activities along a large portion of the international border and to establish inspection and quarantine at points in New Mexico.
It is estimated that this opportunity to undertake the program at this time may permit speeding up by 2 years the establishment of an effective barrier zone, protecting Texas and adjacent States from losses from screw-worm. It would result in substantial savings in program costs as well as earlier protection to livestock producers.
PROVIDING STERILE FLIES FOR PROGRAM * The Supplemental Appropriation Act for 1961 provided $200,000 for research to find improved and more economical methods of rearing, irradiating, and distributing the millions of flies that would be needed in a Southwestern eradication program. This work is being done in facilities available at Kerrville, Tex. Use of these research facilities for fly production for the eradication program would permit immediate production and distribution of about 112 million sterile flies per week. By expanding these present research facilities, it would be possible to increase substantially the numbers of flies being raised so that by June 30, 1962, about 20 million sterile flies could be released each week. It would not be possible to maintain such production for very long with the limited facilities at Kerrville, nor to raise production to the level which would be needed. These temporary fiy rearing facilities create undesirable but unavoidable risks insofaor as precautions against fly escape are concerned and they result in uncertain and inconsistent production due to the lack of temperature controls, humidity controls, and other specialized equipment essential to dependable production of healthy, vigorous, sterile flies in the quantities needed at minimum cost.
For these reasons, it would be necessary to acquire an appropriate facility as soon as possible near the southern edge of the barrier zone with a large production capacity to provide from 50 to 75 million sterile flies per week. It is expected that surplus Federal facilities would be obtained by the Department for the permanent facility. Under cooperative agreement or permit, funds of the foundation would provide for suitable conversion, alteration, and improvement of the facilities. The Department would furnish equipment for the facilities.
In the Southeastern eradication program temporary research facilities available in Florida were used for prompt initiation of eradication until facilities could be provided for full scale production and irradication of flies. An airplane hangar and adjacent buildings at Sebring, Fla., were converted to meet such needs.
COOPERATIVE FUNDING OF PROGRAM
The program will require matching by cooperators of at least 50 per centum of the expenses of production, irradiation and release of screw-worm flies. Definite commitments of this nature have been received from the Southwest Animal Health Research Foundation and the Texas Animal Health Commission.
A joint legislative committee has been established by the State of Texas to assist in organizing the program. The foundation is prepared to furnish $1,500,000 in 1962. The foundation expenses will include providing a center for fly production and irradiation. It is anticipated that the foundation and the States of Texas, New Mexico, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and others will provide $2 million in 1963.
To give maximum effect to the barrier zone, the assistance of Mexican authorities
, local or national, would be obtained in making surveys to determine the existence of the screw-worm fly in areas adjacent to the international border and to extend the release of sterile flies over a narrow strip of Mexico to prevent incipient or emergency outbreaks there from extending into the United States. In carrying out operations on lands and properties in Mexico, the authorities of the national or local agencies would be relied upon. Such fly release in Mexico will reduce dangers to livestock producers in the United States.
In addition to the cooperative expenses, additional international and interstate and inspection quarantine will be required to prevent reinfestation; also, there rould be methods development activities to reduce Federal costs. These would he Fexteral activities and the cooperators would not be required to share such
The Department would need $3,800,000 for the program in fiscal years 1962 snd 1963, $800,000 of which would be available in 1962 hy redistribution of Current funds. Thus supplemental funds of $3 million are needed for the remainder of fiscal year 1962 and for 1963. The $800,000 currently available permits
immediate initiation of the production, irradiation, and release of sterile flies in critical areas, using Kerrville facilities.
PLAN OF OPERATIONS
The $3 million requested is necessary to meet the Federal share of the cost of
1. Expanding activities at Kerrville on a temporary and emergency basis to permit the distribution of about 20 million sterile flies per week during the spring and summer months when the native screw-worm population will begin to build up under the more favorable weather conditions.
2. Equipping and operating the permanent facility required for production, irradiation, and dispersal of screw-worm flies. The billions of flies required (50 to 75 million each week) will entail round-the-clock production line measures
, and very large quantities of media necessary for feeding the larvae and producing millions of flies each week. The flies must be sterilized by irradiation before distribution among native fly populations. Careful and exact packaging of flies is needed prior to loading in airplanes for release of the flies in the eradication zone. Extensive safety measures are required in handling the irradiation units. Also, plant operations require maximum safety precautions to prevent the unintentional release of unsterilized colony flies which are maintained in the plant in large numbers to produce eggs. Efficient and full-time operations of the fly-rearing and irradiating facilities are imperative to the success of the program.
3. Conducting fly dispersal operations over a wide area. This involves establishing some 5 or 6 distribution points, capable of holding and storing under controlled temperature and humidity up to 10 million flies each. From these distribution points, planes, operating under contract, load and disperse the flies.
4. Conducting thorough checks in the eradication area and barrier zone to obtain information and specimens required for evaluating the effects of sterile-fly release. This will comprise a substantial land area. Technicians are needed to establish and maintain constant liaison with all livestock owners, agricultural extension workers, practicing veterinarians, and other to locate screw-worm infestations which can then be eliminated promptly. Fly-trapping operations are required at strategic points in the area to collect flies for laboratory identification and verification of the efficiency of the sterile-fly dispersal patterns. This information is vital in order to effect immediately any adjustments in fly-dispersal activities.
5. Carrying out special surveys needed in other areas where the screw-worm population normally builds up as warm weather occurs. Any such buildup must be known promptly. Even with low fly populations in Florida at the start of the southeastern program, there was some difficulty in eliminating localized infestations. In the Southwest, this will be a problem of much greater magnitude.
6. Expanding inspection and quarantine activities along the international boundary between Mexico and the United States and at inspection stations in New Mexico. All livestock entering from infested areas must be unloared, inspected, and treated with pesticides as necessary to preclude reinfestations.
It is estimated that 3 years will be required for this trial program and that it will be continued in 1964 at about the same level as in 1963.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE,
Washington, D.C., April 3, 1962.
DEAR SENATOR HOLLAND: The second supplemental appropriation bill, 1962, H.R. 11038, as reported by the House Committee on Deficiencies, made reductions in the estimates submitted for the Department of Agriculture. The budget estimates, House reductions, and restoration requested of the Senate are as follows:
A statement is enclosed with respect to the item for the screw-worm eradication program for which restoration of the budget estimate is requested. No restoration is being requested of the $25,000 reduction in the poultry inspection item since this reduction can be absorbed due to additional nonrecurring savings in this fiscal year, resulting primarily from further delays in the reclassification of veterinarians.
Representatives of the Department will be glad to appear before your committee
Joseph M. ROBERTSON,
AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH SERVICE
Salaries and expenses, plant and animal disease and pest control 1962 appropriation (adjusted).
$55, 330, 500 Supplemental estimate (H. Doc. 333)
3, 000, 000 House bill..
2,500,000 Restoration requested.
"Page 2, line 6, strike out '$2,500,000' and insert ($3,000,000', an increase of $500,000 to restore the budget estimate.”
HOUSE REPORT (P. 1) "The committee recommends an appropriation of $2,500,000 for the Agricultural Research Service to extend into the Southwest section of the United States the screw-worm eradication program which has been so highly successful in the Southeast in recent years.
This is a reduction of $500,000 in the budget estimate. It was testified that the unusually severe winter just experienced in the area presents a most favorable opportunity to extend the eradication program to this region this spring. Funds in the bill are made available through fiscal year 1963 and will be matched by the States and localities.”
JUSTIFICATION OF THE AMENDMENT BY THE DEPARTMENT
A reduction of $500,000 in Federal funds available to the program would reduce the Department's participation in sharing the costs of the production, irradiation, and release of sterile screw-worm flies. The appropriation language provides for State or local sources to match these costs and a reduction of $500,000 in Federal funds would probably result in a reduction in matching funds from State and local sources and therefore an overall reduction of as much as $1 million. Such a reduction could prevent the success of the program.
The cooperative program is designed to eradicate screw-worm flies in Texas and New Mexico which in turn will protect the States farther north and east. It is also necessary to determine the requirements for and the economic feasibility of maintaining an artificial barrier zone of sterile screw-worm flies to continue the areas free of screw-worm infestations. The exact requirements for this articonsistent and dependable production capacity of millions of sterile flies each week. This requires a suitable plant facility adequately equipped to rear and irradiate screw-worm fies as well as the necessary labor, supplies, and materials to continue production needs. The Southwest Animal Health Research Foundation is currently remodeling a suitable building for this purpose located on a former military base near Mission, Tex. Cooperators in this program are the South
west Animal Health Research Foundation and the Texas Animal Health Commission, and other State and local cooperators who have assured the Department that the necessary financial contributions have or will be made for the program presented to Congress in the estimate.
It is necessary to preserve intact the Federal responsibility to prevent reinfestation of areas freed of screw-worm flies. This involves inspection and quarantine enforcement activities along the Mexican-United States border and at points along the western New Mexico State line to inspect livestock movements to prevent introduction of screw-worms from farther west and surveys in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, and other areas to disclose any screwworm infestations. These are Federal responsibilities with the costs to be borne by the Department without matching by cooperators in the program. This means that the brunt of the reduction would be borne by the cooperative portion of the program concerned with eradication and the release of sterile flies to maintain the barrier zone. A substantial reduction of up to $1 million in this cooperative program would jeopardize the success of the program. The Department stringly urges restoration of the $500,000 reduction by the House.
We are glad of this opportunity to discuss with you a request for a supplemental appropriation of $3 million to eradicate screw-worms in the Southwest and to determine the feasibility of maintaining an artificial barrier zone along the Mexican-United States border to prevent reinfestation.
The funds would remain available through June 30, 1963, to assure that there would be no interruption of the program. It is estimated it will require 3 years to determine the economic feasibility of an artificial barrier. Work would need to be continued at about the same level in fiscal year 1964.
In addition to the funds requested in this supplemental estimate, as stated in letters which have been sent to the subcommittees which consider agricultural appropriations, $800,000 of the current funds of the Agricultural Research Service have been redirected so that the program could be initiated on February 14, 1962. Currently, 12 million flies per week are being released over approximately 50,000 square miles in southern Texas, which, as far as we know, comprises all of the area in Texas where flies have been able to overwinter this past season. It is expected that releases will reach 20 million flies per week within the next 10 days.
EFFECT OF COLD WINTER
The severe cold weather in January in the Southwest presented an unusual and unforeseen opportunity to initiate this work. The screw-worm, which is the larval stage of a fly that is almost identical in appearance with the common green blowfly, is sensitive to cold weather.
This year it was killed far south of the average overwintering area in the Southwest. Undertaking the work at this time will involve less cost for carrying out the program, earlier protection to livestock producers, and, we hope, speed up establishment of a barrier zone by as much as 2
years. Only a few years ago this pest plagued livestock producers throughout most of the South and Southwest from the Atlantic to the Pacific. In 1958 an eradication program was begun in cooperation with the Southeastern States, where the overwintering area was largely confined to Florida Florida had natural barriers--the ocean and Gulf
of Mexico and a land area to the north and west not normally suitable for overwintering. The program in the Southeast, in which sterile flies were released to eliminate native populations, has resulted in considerable savings to Southeastern producers. Since the program was completed, only a few small outbreaks have occurred, and these have been eradicated. Annual costs and losses in the Southeast were estimated at $10 to $20 million prior to the eradication program. Losses are greater in the Southwest, estimates for Texas alone averaging $20 to $25 million per year, and some years much higher.
COOPERATIVE PROGRAM FOR THE SOUTHWEST
In view of the success of the Southeast program, and the tremendous annual losses which livestock producers in the Southwest have experienced, the Department is urged to undertake a similar cooperative program in that area. However, conditions are different in the SouthWest. The principal problem is the lack of natural barriers. The screw-worm is found the year round from Argentina to Texas, requiring that an artificial barrier against reinfestation from the south be established and maintained. The program proposed would afford protection to New Mexico, Texas, and States to the north and east.
The program involves producing from 50 to 75 million screw-worm flies per week; irradiating the flies to make them sterile; packing them in boxes and transporting these boxes to distribution centers; releasing the flies over the eradication area by airplanes; conducting surveys to determine the effectiveness of the fly releases and to delineate areas of infestation; and, finally, to maintain a barrier zone by continuing fly release. International and interstate inspection and quarantine to prevent reinfestation of the area freed of the screw-worm flies is also involved.
PROPOSED FINANCING OF COSTS
The proposed appropriation language provides for minimum matching by State and local sources equal to at least 50 percent of the expenses of production, irradiation, and release of flies. Costs of activities such as additional international and interstate inspection and quarantine, and methods development to reduce Federal costs, would be borne by the Department. Copies of telegrams from the SouthWest Animal Health Research Foundation, the Texas Animal Health Commission, and a joint legislative committee established by the State of Texas in support of the program are attached.
(The information referred to follows:)
Copies of TELEGRAMS RECEIVED BY B. T. Shaw, ADMINISTRATOR, AGRICULTURAL
RESEARCH SERVICE, ON FEBRUARY 2, 1962
Dallas, Ter., February 2, 1962.
C. G. SCRUGGS, President.