Administration agrees to leave parts of APHIS out of homeland agency

Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman told the House Select Committee on Homeland Security Tuesday that the Bush administration has agreed to support the House Agriculture Committee's recommendation that only the border security functions and the Plum Island research facility be moved from Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to the proposed Homeland Security department.

"The House Agriculture Committee's amendment is consistent with the president's goal of unifying the border and transportation security functions of many federal agencies," Veneman said.

Farm groups and state agriculture commissioners have lobbied hard to keep other APHIS programs at USDA.

Veneman noted that the programs that will stay at USDA include protecting livestock from predators; eradicating boll weevil, fruit flies, and brucellosis; controlling rabies in wildlife; negotiating with foreign countries on technical requirements for U.S. exports and imports, biotechnology, and animal welfare.