Most of you know the rest of the story which is why we are here today. As this display map indicates, by 1966 the screwworm had also been eradicated from the southwest and all of the United States. The Southwest Animal Research Foundation (SWARF), a livestock producer organization, was a key supporter and player in this aspect of the program and is still active today.
On August 28, thirty years ago to this very day in 1972, the U.S. and Mexico signed an agreement to eradicate the screwworm from Mexico, which was achieved in 1991. The program, as you all know, subsequently progressed successfully through all of Central America and is nearing completion this year in Panama. Truly this is a remarkable achievement that has been made possible by the combined efforts and cooperation of literally thousands of individuals and organizations. Special recognition is extended to all those here today that played a role, particularly the Plant workers, other employees of the Mexican American Commission, members of Mexican livestock producer organizations, and contributing USDA personnel.
The benefits to livestock producers throughout the eradication zone are well over one billion dollars per year. The cumulative benefits over more than 50 years, including all the economic multipliers, environmental quality, and avoidance of animal and human suffering, are too large and staggering to even estimate. If my father were here today I know he would salute you all, as I do now on his behalf and for his memory.
At this point, I’d like to recognize Ms. Lynn Stewart, from our USDA National Agricultural Library in Beltsville, Maryland. Lynn is here today with a large scale version of this map on display. Lynn is also responsible for securing and maintaining an extensive collection of documents and other materials encompassing the entire history of the screwworm eradication program from the 1930s through the present, including my father’s personal papers. The collection is currently 165 linear feet long, “on the bookshelf” so to speak, and continues to grow. The screwworm collection illustrates the important contributions of individuals, private organizations, universities, state agencies, national governments, and the Commission. The collection includes correspondence, diplomatic agreements, scientific papers and manuscripts, raw research data and analyses, livestock producer materials, films, photographs, maps, public information materials, and artifacts. In addition to the collection and this display, the Library has made the story of the screwworm eradication program available to researchers and the public on the World Wide Web as well as on compact disc. Lynn Stewart is available and anxious to meet with and talk to any of you all this week about the collection and to solicit any additional relevant material that you might be able to contribute.