Rep. Cuellar Announces Funds to Fight Cattle Fever Ticks
Today, Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28) announced an additional $3.7 million in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) funding to fight cattle fever ticks in areas like Starr, Zapata, and Webb Counties. This is in addition to the $8.5 million already allocated for fiscal year 2017, bringing the total to $12.2 million.
“Cattle producers are an important part of our economy, and our way of life, here in Texas,” said Congressman Cuellar. “With their hard work, they feed America and the world, so controlling cattle fever ticks is a priority. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, it is my job to make sure the USDA has the funding to protect this industry and our food supply. That is why I have consistently fought for significant funding for the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) Cattle Health program, which received $91.5 million in the Fiscal Year 2017 Omnibus Appropriations Act. This program helps improve the quality, productivity, and economic viability of the U.S. cattle industry.”
He continued, “I would like to thank the Texas Farm Bureau, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, and the South Texans’ Property Rights Association for their advocacy on this issue. I also thank my colleagues Rep. Filemon Vela and Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, as well as House Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee Chairman Robert Aderholt and Ranking Member Sanford Bishop for their support on this issue.”
Susan Kibbe, the Executive Director of the South Texans’ Property Rights Association (STPRA), said, “South Texans’ Property Rights Association (STPRA) applauds Congressman Cuellar’s quick response in securing additional funding to help fight cattle fever tick in the recent outbreaks in Starr, Zapata, and Webb Counties. He has risen as a strong leader for South Texans and one on whom we can rely when we ask for help on landowner issues. We’d also like to thank Congressmen Filemon Vela and Vicente Gonzalez for their support on this very important landowner issue.”
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. However, infestations have been reported elsewhere in Central and South Texas as well.
Fighting these ticks has been an ongoing effort. In 2008 Congressman Cuellar included language in the Farm Bill for the Cattle Fever Tick Eradication Program which provided research grants to study cattle fever ticks and their eradication. These additional funds are a good step in helping control the tick population and stop the spread of their disease.