Farm Futures logo

USDA offers additional aid to fight avian flu

New funding to help producers manage crisis.

Joshua Baethge, Policy editor

May 13, 2024

2 Min Read
Cows in milking parlor
Getty Images/Andy Sacks

USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services are taking additional steps in hopes of stopping the spread of H5N1 avian influenza in dairy cattle. On Friday, USDA announced it would provide financial support to encourage increased biosecurity activities over the next 120 days.

“To protect against the potential for spread between humans and animals, we’re going to be providing financial support up to $2000 per affected premises per month for producers who supply PPE to employees, and/or who provide outwear uniform laundering for producers of affected herds,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says.

Producers will be eligible for the support if they “facilitate the participation” of farmworkers in a USDA/CDC workplace and farmworker study.

USDA will help producers pay for developing new biosecurity plans to secure the milk supply, as well as those who use head treatment to dispose of milk in a bio secure fashion. It will provide $100 for producers to purchase and use an inline sampler for their milk systems.

The agency will also reimburse producers for veterinarian costs association with confirmed case on their properties and offset shipping costs for influenza A testing and National Animal Health Laboratory Network labs.

Additionally, USDA will make an additional $98 million available to aid the Animal Plan Health Inspection Services’ effort to compensate producers for lost milk production and to work with states to limit the movement of lactating cattle.

Related:Feds take action to combat avian influenza

All told, the new financial incentives could give producers up to $28,000 per premise.

National Milk Producers Federation President and CEO Gregg Doud thanked federal officials for using their authority to assist dairy producers. He says care for farm workers and animals is critical for milk producers, as is protecting against potential human heal risks and reassuring the public.

“We look forward to continued collaboration and consultation with USDA and other federal agencies as we monitor, understand, and contain this outbreak, and we will do what we can to help dairy farmers understand and benefit from these initiatives as swift implementation is put into motion,” Doud says.

The Department of Health and Human Services will provide $101 for efforts to mitigate the risks of avian influenza through the CDC and FDA. Those agencies continue to work on testing prevention and treatment strategies for H5N1.

Federal officials continue to emphasize that the milk supply is safe since pasteurization kills the virus. So far, there has only been one reported case of avian flu in humans. That case was reported in Texas on April 1.

About the Author(s)

Joshua Baethge

Policy editor, Farm Progress

Joshua Baethge covers a wide range of government issues affecting agriculture. Before joining Farm Progress, he spent 10 years as a news and feature reporter in Texas. During that time, he covered multiple state and local government entities, while also writing about real estate, nightlife, culture and whatever else was the news of the day.

Baethge earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of North Texas. In his free time, he enjoys going to concerts, discovering new restaurants, finding excuses to be outside and traveling as much as possible. He is based in the Dallas area where he lives with his wife and two kids.

Subscribe to receive top agriculture news
Be informed daily with these free e-newsletters

You May Also Like