U.S. authorizes $330 million to fund avian flu response

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, May 6, 2015 - An avian influenza outbreak wreaking havoc on Midwest poultry operations shows no signs of slowing, and now the Office of Management and Budget has authorized $330 million in emergency funding to help producers cope with the disease.

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As of May 4, the disease affected almost 24 million birds in 13 states since first being detected in Oregon in December. Turkey and laying-hen flocks in Minnesota and Iowa are experiencing most of the damage, where the disease has affected 21.6 million birds since first appearing in Minnesota in March.

Funding will be primarily used for indemnity payments to producers that experience a loss due to the disease. In keeping with disease prevention protocol, all birds from an infected flock are depopulated, even those showing no signs of the disease. Farmers are then eligible for indemnity payments on healthy birds that were euthanized to prevent the spread of the H5N2 disease.

The new authorization comes on top of about $99 million already spent due to avian influenza. According USDA Chief Veterinary Officer and  Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Deputy Administrator for Veterinary Services John Clifford, $84 million came from a federal authorization and $15 million came out of “money (APHIS) already had.”

According to an APHIS spokeswoman, funding will be withdrawn on an as-needed basis from the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) “to ensure our response to this outbreak continues to be adequately resourced.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers the risk to people from these infections to be low. No human cases of these viruses have been detected in the United States, Canada, or internationally.

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