A new outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) confirmed in a commercial turkey farm in Indiana in January 2016 should serve as a warning to all livestock producers to remain vigilant with regard to their biosecurity procedures. In the near future, a sound biosecurity plan will also be required to receive indemnity payments in the event of a disease outbreak.

Citing a new interim federal rule that clarifies policies for highly pathogenic avian influenza indemnity payments, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding urged Pennsylvania producers to establish and implement biosecurity protocols for their operations. Without a biosecurity plan, poultry operations will be ineligible for federal indemnity payments should HPAI be found in their flock.

In the near future, a sound biosecurity plan will also be required to receive indemnity payments in the event of a disease outbreak.

The rule, developed by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), outlines conditions for the payment of indemnity claims for HPAI. One component requires poultry owners and contract growers to provide to APHIS a statement that they had a biosecurity plan in place at the time HPAI was detected in their facilities.

“Having a biosecurity plan in place—and following it to the letter—is now more critical than ever for every livestock operation,” Redding said. “Poultry growers in many states faced a difficult reality last year when HPAI devastated their flocks, in part because of a lapse in biosecurity protocols. We have all learned from those mistakes, and this new rule will help us to avoid those same pitfalls. In order to be eligible for a federal indemnity payment, you must have a biosecurity plan. There’s just no reason not to. Having a plan in place makes sense.”

Other components of the interim rule clarify the existing policy that allows for the payment of indemnity for eggs destroyed by HPAI response, and provides a formula to allow indemnity payments to be split between poultry and egg owners and their contracted growers. You can view the interim rule and any comments that have been posted at http://goo.gl/WKR1Uf.

Jeff Murphy, COO of Dutchland Farms, LLC, agrees with Secretary Redding’s focus on biosecurity. “Wenger Feeds and Dutchland Farms have taken a proactive approach to biosecurity—from upgrading the onboard disinfection systems on our feed trucks, to enhancing all of our biosecurity protocols, to assisting our contract growers and producers with development and implementation of their biosecurity plans. A robust biosecurity plan is no longer a ‘nice to have’; it’s a must.”

For more information about HPAI and documents that can help keep you prepared, including tips on biosecurity and a flock plan template, visit www.agriculture.pa.gov and click on “Avian Influenza” or call 717-772-2852.

For more information about Dutchland Farms’ Products and Services, contact us.