Farm Aid Bill Passes House; Includes MRLS Assistance

Financial and legislative endeavors tied to mare reproductive loss syndrome continue on the state level, and may be on a fast track on Capitol Hill. The farm aid bill, which includes some assistance for people impacted by foal loss and also designates the horse as livestock, passed the House Oct. 4 and now heads to the Senate.

David Switzer, executive director of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, said movement on the bill wasn't expected until the first of the year, but now that it has passed the House, the Senate must act on it within the month.

In Kentucky, the University of Louisville has completed an economic impact study of the syndrome and plans to release an executive summary soon. The information will be used when the industry addresses the state legislature.
"It should forecast money lost to the state's general fund," Switzer said. "With a $335-million budget deficit in Kentucky, the $2 million (in lost revenue from a tax on stud fees) is only part of the puzzle. The state budget director should be able to make use of the study."

Given the fiscal climate in Kentucky, Switzer said he doubts the state will be in a "lending position," though during recent hearings, legislators have indicated a willingness to consider ways to assist the racing and breeding industry in the state.