Press Releases

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman urged Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Tom Vilsack to protect U.S. poultry growers against the threat of a renewed avian flu outbreak. In a letter, Boozman and nine of his colleagues, including Senator Tom Cotton, requested protections for poultry producers in case of emergency as USDA implements its Fall 2015 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) Preparedness and Response Plan. 

The letter presses for the equitable distribution of indemnities in the event of an emergency situation. 

“It is our understanding that the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is drafting an interim rule to allow the use of split owner/grower indemnity distribution for HPAI. This would align with current regulations for other types of avian influenza. We are encouraged by the actions APHIS is taking, and we request that you allocate any future indemnities equitably so that producers can maintain access to financing in the short-term and the future,” members wrote in the Vilsack. 

In the event of an outbreak, the Senators also requested policies that address HPAI-caused supply chain disruptions. The current assistance program would only cover birds that must be destroyed. 

USDA is preparing for renewed occurrences of HPAI in the United States, following an outbreak between December 2014 and June 2015 that infected more than 48 million birds in 15 states

Led by Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS), the letter was also signed by Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), David Perdue (R-GA), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Richard Shelby (R-AL), David Vitter (R-LA), and Roger Wicker (R-MS).  Read the letter in its entirety here.

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