Life

USDA announces final rule for indemnity payments

AMES ? The U.S. Department of Agriculture?s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has issued a final rule outlining the conditions under which the USDA will pay indemnity to farms affected by highly pathogenic bird flu.


The final rule, which includes updates to the interim rule issued in February, does three things:


Allows indemnity payments to be split between poultry and egg owners and their contracted growers and provides a formula for the split, adopts biosecurity principles established by the National Poultry Improvement Plan and requires auditable biosecurity plans to be in place for larger-sized operations to receive indemnity payments.


The split payments for HPAI in the final rule are in line with the split payments for indemnity in the existing low pathogenic bird flu program.


?Growers that have birds or eggs destroyed due to HPAI will qualify for indemnity payments based on the terms in the contract they hold with the owners of the birds,? said Danelle Bickett-Weddle, associate director of the Center for Food Security and Public Health at Iowa State University. ?The indemnity payment will vary depending on the contract language the two parties agreed to before the growing period began.?


USDA APHIS will pay indemnity to growers and contractors based on the contract terms determined by the two parties.


The final rule allowed the USDA to address concerns about the interim rule raised by stakeholders, including whether self-certification of biosecurity was adequate. As a result, USDA is now requiring audits to ensure optimal biosecurity is practiced by large poultry facilities.


In the final rule, a facility that meets the minimum size requirements must have an auditable biosecurity plan. To be eligible for HPAI indemnity, the plan must address all 14 biosecurity principles in compliance with National Poultry Improvement Plan requirements.


?To help producers meet the biosecurity standards, USDA APHIS worked with veterinarians at the Center for Food Security and Public Health to create the ?Information Manual for Implementing Poultry Biosecurity,? which aligns with the 14 points in the checklist found in NPIP Standard E,? Bickett-Weddle said.


The final rule can be viewed on the Federal Register. Additional biosecurity resources are also available at www.poultrybiosecurity.org.