Dairy producers from 42 farms in nine states have dealt with the impact of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) on their herds so far, and more are taking efforts to prevent their animals from becoming infected. Veterinary resources, testing, employee support, and lost milk production have been incurred as the situation has evolved, and now there will be financial support for producers to handle the costs of those efforts.

While details about how farmers will be able to access and apply for the funds is yet to come, USDA announced last week that is has allotted roughly $98 million to support dairy farmers affected by the outbreak. A total of up to $28,000 per affected farm will be available in the following formats:

  • Up to $10,000 per affected premise for veterinary costs (sample collection fees and supplies plus treatment) from the initial date of positive confirmation
  • Up to $2,000 per affected premise per month if a producer establishes a system to heat treat all waste milk before disposal. Effective heat treatment is currently the only available method considered to inactivate the virus.
  • Up to $2,000 per affected premise per month for farms that supply personal protective equipment and/or provide outerwear laundering to employees if they allow their workers to be involved in a USDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study on workplace and farm workers. Employees can also be compensated for their time in the study.
  • Up to $1,500 per farm to develop biosecurity plans based on existing secure milk supply plans, including plans for people who move between farms such as milk haulers or vets.
  • $100 to producers who purchase and use an in-line milk sampler
  • Up to $50 per sample for up to two samples per month to test for influenza A at a National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) lab

Also, USDA is separately working to make funds available from the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-raised Fish Program (ELAP) to compensate producers who experience reduced milk yield and sales due to the presence of the disease.

As of April 29, a federal order from USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service required that all lactating dairy cattle crossing state lines would need a negative test for influenza A from an approved NAHLN lab. (Cattle moving from a sale barn directly to a slaughter facility in another state need only a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection, and no testing is required). The federal order also states that APHIS will provide reimbursement for this testing as well as tests submitted of symptomatic and asymptomatic cattle and other animals.

More resources to track HPAI

Additionally, CDC and the Food and Drug Administration are releasing funds to monitor and limit the spread of avian influenza.

CDC has set aside $93 million to prevent, detect, and respond to the disease. These efforts include supporting effective testing and lab capacity, scaling up monitoring and contact tracing of people who have been exposed to the disease in animals, genomic sequencing efforts, analysis of the efficacy of current vaccines, and studying wastewater in livestock-adjacent sites.

FDA is making $8 million available to ensure the continued safety of the commercial milk supply. “This funding will support the agency’s ability to validate pasteurization criteria, conduct surveillance at different points in the milk production system, bolster laboratory capacity and provide needed resources to train staff on biosecurity procedures,” said a press release from USDA. The virus has been detected in grocery store milk samples, but the particles are inactive because of pasteurization. The department has reiterated that pasteurized milk remains safe to consume.

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(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2024
May 16, 2024
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