USDA will use another $400 million from the Commodity Credit Corp. to address the outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza, which has now been found in 35 states, affecting nearly 38 million birds.
The money will be used to “to address indemnity, diagnostics, field activities, and other emergency response costs,” USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said. The funds will go directly to APHIS and “allow APHIS personnel to continue to deploy and support the emergency wherever they are needed,” USDA Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt said.
The outbreak is geographically larger than the one in 2014-2015, which hit about 50 million birds in 21 states. APHIS has been tracking the outbreak on its website, which shows the last four detections were in backyard flocks — three in Washington and one in Idaho.
The outbreak has so far affected 183 commercial operations, compared to 211 during the 2014-2015 outbreak. However, the number of backyard operations, at 172, is more than eight times the number of backyard premises affected during 2014-15.
Looking for the best, most comprehensive and balanced news source in agriculture? Our Agri-Pulse editors don't miss a beat! Sign up for a free month-long subscription.
Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack previously approved the use of about $130 million in emergency funding in mid-March and added $263 million in late April.
USDA spent close to $900 million responding to the last outbreak, most of it on biosecurity, according to a Congressional Research Service report, but also spent $190 million in indemnity payments to producers.
“Since the last CCC funding transfer was approved in April, there have been detections in 151 new flocks, including flocks in nine new states,” which have affected more than 10.8 million commercial and backyard birds. APHIS said. So far, the agency said it “has mobilized 1,125 employees both physically and virtually to respond to the outbreak.”
For more news, go to www.Agri-Pulse.com.