APHIS finalizes interim rule on HPAI indemnity payments

By Spencer Chase

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WASHINGTON, Feb. 5, 2016 - USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced today the finalization of a new interim rule governing indemnity payments from highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreaks.

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The interim rule - expected to be published in the Federal Register next week - clarifies who is eligible to receive indemnity payments and what must be done to collect them.

Under the interim rule, producers will be required to show they had some kind of biosecurity plan in place at the time HPAI was detected in their facilities. The new rule also provides a formula for payments to be split between the owners of the birds and contract growers as well as clarifies a policy that allows for indemnity payments for eggs destroyed by HPAI response.

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Last year, more than 48 million birds were depopulated after HPAI strains ripped through the nation's poultry production systems, especially in Minnesota and Iowa. A recurrence of the disease this year has been limited to a January event in Indiana that involved a strain that wasn't detected in 2015.  APHIS has issued more than $200 million in indemnity payments since last year's outbreak.

Once the interim rule is published, it will be open for public comment for 60 days.

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