Update on FARAD Funding

As you may recall, livestock production groups and food animal veterinary professional organizations were successful in getting Congress to authorize funding for the Food Animal Residue Avoidance Database (FARAD) in the latest Farm Bill. Unfortunately that is just half the battle. Although authorized by Congress, no funds have yet been appropriated and FARAD has begun the process of shutting down due to a lack of operating funds.

In the last several weeks AVMA has met with several appropriators on Capitol Hill regarding funding for FARAD. The association is optimistic that when Congress finally passes the FY 2009 appropriations package - probably an omnibus bill - that FARAD will be funded somewhere between $806,000 and $400,000. Once the FY 2009 process has been completed then AVMA will seek the authorized funding level of $2.5 million for FY 2010.

Who uses FARAD? Most users interact with FARAD by phone (50%) followed by the website (29%) and email (21%). 34% of the inquiries are about dairy cattle, 15% beef cattle, 12% swine, 11% goats, 10% rabbits and cervids, 7% general information, 6% poultry and 5% sheep. It should be noted, however, that, particularly with poultry and swine, a single call might affect thousands of animals.

In 2007, FARAD received emergency funding from the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) which allowed continued operation until September 2008 when the funding expired. USDA's CSREES has provided some bridge funding in 2008 that may allow FARAD to keep the phone lines functioning into early 2009 but the organization has begun letting staff go. Dr. Ron DeHaven, AVMA CEO, mailed letters to the CEOs of stakeholder groups urging them to consider joining AVMA in contributing support for FARAD. As a result, a total of $13,600 has been committed by a small cohort of stakeholders.