Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Senate Committee Holds Avian Influenza Hearing

On June 7, 2015, the United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry held a hearing on Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) and its effect on the U.S poultry industry.  The hearing highlighted areas that need to be addressed in order to effectively handle the outbreak and potential future outbreaks.

Dr. John Clifford, Deputy Administrator for USDA’s Animal and Plant Inspection Service (APHIS), testified that if a site is confirmed to have HPAI, the producer must create a flock plan designating the procedures necessary for the producer’s farm to return to normal production.  The flock plan requires signatures from the owners, a state animal health official, and an APHIS official, and is necessary to be eligible for indemnification payments.  A flock plan is required before APHIS can issue an appraisal document valuing the production lost.  When an owner signs off on the appraisal, APHIS can begin depopulating.

Additionally, Dr. Clifford testified that a major issue that needs to be addressed to increase efficiency in depopulation efforts is “the lack of ready sites to receive and process dead birds.”

Egg and poultry producers also testified at the hearing.  Ken Klippen, President of the National Association of Egg Farmers, stated the association had sent in to APHIS an indemnity plan which could help APHIS bring a quick and fair appraisal to the producer.  Brad Milone, Manager and Owner of Moline Farms LLC, experienced firsthand HPAI when he lost 56,000 turkeys and touched upon issues he experienced in the process.  He emphasized the need for increased communication between the government and producers as well as faster depopulation time periods when there is confirmed HPAI.

Written by Katharine Richter - Research Assistant

July 8, 2015

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