USDA to Provide $824 Million to Protect Farms From Avian Flu

USAgNet - 06/03/2024

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it is taking several additional actions to ensure the health and viability of the nation's livestock and poultry.

In the two months since the initial detection of H5N1 in dairy cattle, USDA has worked quickly and in concert with its federal and state partners to better understand the virus and contain the disease and remains committed to seeking additional ways to collect the data needed to better understand and mitigate the risk created by this outbreak.

USDA is adding an additional $824 million in emergency funding from the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) to bolster these efforts and is launching a new Voluntary H5N1 Dairy Herd Status Pilot Program to give dairy producers more options to monitor the health of their herds and move cows more quickly while providing on-going testing and expanding USDA's understanding of the disease.

To help ensure the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) can continue to provide critical rapid response activities, Secretary Vilsack approved the transfer of $824 million from the CCC to APHIS to directly support the response efforts. This funding allows APHIS to continue its critical work with state and local partners to quickly identify and address cases of HPAI/H5N1 in poultry and livestock.

The funding will support anticipated diagnostics, field response activities, pre-movement testing requirements, other necessary surveillance and control activities, surveillance in wildlife for APHIS, the Agricultural Research Service's (ARS) work in developing vaccines for HPAI in cattle, turkeys, pigs, and goats, and ARS and the Food Safety and Inspection Service's food safety studies.

The Secretary is authorized to transfer funding from available resources including the CCC to address emergency outbreaks of animal and plant pests and diseases. USDA previously approved the use of $1.3 billion in emergency funding to address nationwide HPAI detections in wild birds and commercial poultry operations. These additional funds will ensure our continued robust and rapid response to this outbreak.

Continuing to build on the efforts to contain H5N1, APHIS is standing up a Voluntary H5N1 Dairy Herd Status Pilot Program, which provides alternative testing and movement options to the Federal Order to increase USDA's monitoring capabilities to mitigate the spread of H5N1.

The Voluntary H5N1 Dairy Herd Status Pilot Program aims to create additional testing options for producers with herds that have tested negative for three weeks in a row, further reduce H5N1 virus dissemination, provide for further opportunities to test herds that are not known to be affected with H5N1, increase surveillance and expand our knowledge of the disease, and support an overall national program to reduce the risk of H5N1 in dairy herds.

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