WASHINGTON— Earlier this week, Congressman Henry Cuellar announced that he secured an additional $1 million in the U.S. House of Representatives fiscal year 2019 Agriculture Appropriations bill for United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) to conduct research on cattle fever tick treatments. This is in addition to the $96.5 million secured for the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Cattle Health Program, which includes $5 million specifically for research and scientific tools to eradicate cattle fever tick. This bill passed through Committee today, and will move to the House Floor for a vote this summer.
The U.S. cattle industry is valued at roughly $81 billion. Cattle fever ticks carry microscopic parasites that cause anemia, fever, enlargement of the spleen and liver, and often death for up to 90 percent of infected cattle. Along the Rio Grande, there is a Permanent Cattle Fever Tick Quarantine Zone, an area that spans eight Texas counties on the border and over a half million acres stretching from the Gulf of Mexico near Brownsville to Amistad Dam north of Del Rio, intended to prevent the spread of the often deadly tick-borne disease. Infestations have been reported elsewhere in Central and South Texas as well.
In FY18, Congressman Cuellar helped secure millions of dollars for cattle health, including millions to fight fever ticks in areas like Starr, Hidalgo, Zapata, and Webb Counties in Texas.
“Our cattle producers contribute greatly to the economy and way of life in South Texas,” said Congressman Cuellar. “They deserve our assistance in the face of threats to their vitality. This additional $1 million will help provide funding for research and scientific tools that our ranchers need to eradicate cattle fever ticks. This is a critical step in helping control the tick population and stop the spread of their disease.”
In each of the four quarantine counties in Congressman Cuellar’s district (Starr, Zapata, Webb, and Hidalgo), the Congressman’s office and the Farm Service Agency will be hosting information sessions on the availability of Emergency Livestock Assistance Program funding for ranchers and farmers who spend money on moving their cattle to dipping sites for cattle fever tick treatment. Only those ranchers that reside in each of the four quarantined counties in the district are eligible for funding. Please see the following flyers for more details.