WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) released the following statement after President Donald Trump signed into law his bipartisan bill to address the shortage of agricultural inspectors who protect the nation’s food supply and agricultural industry at the border. The Protecting America’s Food & Agriculture Act of 2019 ensures safe and secure trade of agricultural goods across our nation’s borders by authorizing U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to hire additional inspectors, support staff, and K-9 teams to fully staff America’s airports, seaports, and land ports of entry.
“Each year, hundreds of billions of dollars in goods pass through Texas’ land, air, and sea ports of entry,” said Senator Cornyn. “This law will increase the number of inspectors safeguarding the safety and integrity of goods and products coming across our border, which will benefit not just Texans but all Americans.”
The Protecting America’s Food & Agriculture Act of 2019 authorizes the annual hiring of 240 Agricultural Specialists per year until the workforce shortage is filled and 200 Agricultural Technicians per year to carry out administrative and support functions. The bill also authorizes the training and assignment of 20 new K-9 teams a year, which have proven valuable in detecting illicit fruits, vegetables, and animal products that may have otherwise been missed in initial inspections. Finally, the bill authorizes supplemental appropriations each year to pay for the activities of the agriculture specialists, technicians, and K-9 teams.
This bipartisan bill was introduced by Congressman Filemon Vela (TX-34) in the U.S. House of Representatives.