Senator Tom Harkin says the incoming U.S. Ag Secretary will face the serious challenge of ensuring the safety of the nation’s food supply. Harkin says U.S. officials didn’t even contemplate the potential of “intentional acts” of food sabotage when they wrote the Farm Bill. Harkin’s comments came this morning during a confirmation hearing for Nebraska Governor Mike Johanns, the president’s pick for Ag Secretary. “Besides the meat and poultry inspection, we have a crucial role in fighting plant and animal diseases such as soybean rust, which is now threatening our country,” Harkin says. Foot and mouth disease, “Mad Cow” disease and the so-called chicken flu are all threats the U-S-D-A must find ways to combat, according to Harkin. “So, to do this job, the U-S-D-A needs state-of-the-art facilities, which is why we must provide the necessary funds to complete the renovation of the National Animal Disease Laboratory in Ames,” Harkin says. Harkin told the committee Johanns got a “good start” in life because he grew up in Iowa and Harkin told Johanns he looked forward to working with him. Harkin is the top-ranking democrat on the Senate Ag Committee.
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