Congressman Cuellar Includes $96.5 million in Appropriations Bill for Cattle Health

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Including $5 million to help fight cattle fever ticks in South Texas

Texas Border Business

Washington — Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) announced that he included $96.5 million and language in the U.S. House of Representatives Fiscal Year 2019 Agriculture Appropriations bill for the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Cattle Health Program, including $5 million specifically for research and scientific tools to eradicate cattle fever tick.

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.

“I would like to thank my fellow Appropriators, Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee Chairman Robert Aderholt and Ranking Member Sanford Bishop for helping me secure these funds. I would also like to thank my fellow South Texas Congressmen Filemon Vela and Vicente Gonzalez for their leadership on this issue,” Congressman Cuellar added. “I also want to thank the Texas Farm Bureau, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, and the South Texans’ Property Rights Association, for their consistent efforts to help highlight and battle this issue at the local, State, and Federal level for our Texas ranchers and cattle producers.”

“Our cattle producers contribute greatly to the economy and way of life in South Texas. They deserve our assistance in the face of threats to their vitality. Fighting these ticks has been an ongoing, uphill battle since 2008 when I included language in the Farm Bill for the Cattle Fever Tick Eradication Program that provided research grants to study cattle fever ticks and their eradication. The funds for the USDA-APHIS Cattle Health program this year are an important step in helping control the tick population and stop the spread of their disease.”

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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.

Read report language here.