U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and John Cornyn, R-Texas, led a bipartisan letter with 13 other senators to the Senate Agriculture Committee urging Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan. and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich, to authorize an animal disease and disaster response program and a foot and mouth disease vaccine bank in the 2018 Farm Bill.

Recent animal disease outbreaks like Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza impacted hundreds of thousands of farms in the U.S. and resulted in hundreds of millions in damages. The recommended provisions in the letter would help to adequately address risks to animal health, livestock export markets, and industry economic stability.

"Foreign pests and diseases have the potential to devastate animal agriculture. It is critical that the next Farm Bill address these risks to animal health," the senators wrote. "We believe the inclusion in the next Farm Bill of a joint animal disease and disaster response program and a FMD vaccine bank would accomplish this goal."

Joining Klobuchar and Cornyn on the letter were U.S. Sens. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., Thom Tillis, R-N.C., Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., John Thune, R-S.D., Tina Smith, D-Minn., John Hoeven R-N.D., Mark Warner D-Va., David Perdue R-Ga, Tim Kaine, D-Va., Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Johnny Isakson, R-Ga. and Todd Young, R-Iowa.