Home Industry News Economics USDA Offers Assistance for Recovery/Prevention of HPAI H5N1 in Dairy Herds

USDA Offers Assistance for Recovery/Prevention of HPAI H5N1 in Dairy Herds

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the detection of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), also known as H5N1, in dairy cattle in 12 states including Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Mexico, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming. To protect the U.S. livestock industry from the threat posed by HPAI H5N1 USDA is taking a number of actions with our federal partners.

On April 24, APHIS announced a federal order that includes mandatory testing for interstate movement of dairy cattle and mandatory reporting of influenza A detections in livestock. In addition to the Federal Order mandates, USDA provides several voluntary testing and monitoring options, including the HPAI Dairy Herd Status Program announced on May 31, 2024. APHIS has released a list of requirements and recommendations that apply to interstate moving of lactating dairy cattle, testing guidance for livestock, and answers to frequently asked questions. Producers are encouraged to visit the APHIS HPAI Livestock Detection website for information about these programs and requirements, as well as the most comprehensive and timely updates about this rapidly evolving situation.

Assistance for Milk Loss

Confirmed H5N1 Positive Test Results Required for Recovery Assistance  

Producers who incur milk losses in their dairy herds due to HPAI H5N1 can now apply for financial assistance through the USDA’s updated Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-raised Fish Program (ELAP). USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) expanded ELAP policy through the rule-making process to assist with financial losses resulting from reduced milk production when cattle are removed from commercial milking in dairy herds having a confirmed positive H5N1 test. Positive tests must be confirmed through the USDA’s APHIS’ National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL).

To apply, producers need to submit the following to FSA:

  • Proof of herd infection through a confirmed positive H5N1 test (based on USDA’s APHIS H5N1 case definition) on individual animal or bulk tank samples confirmed by APHIS’ NVSL;
  • A notice of loss indicating the date when the loss is apparent, which is the sample collection date for the positive H5N1 test; and
  • An application for payment certifying the number of eligible adult dairy cows removed from production, the month the cows were removed from production, and the producer’s share in the milk production.

The final date to file a notice of loss and application for payment for eligible losses is 30 days after the end of the prior calendar year, which is January 30.

Note: To determine livestock and producer eligibility for ELAP H5N1 assistance, to submit an application or if you’ve not previously conducted business with FSA, contact your local FSA county office for details. Find your local office. Other online resources include frequently asked questions and a fact sheet.

Loans for Biosecurity Implementation 

FSA also provides direct and guaranteed loans for farmers and ranchers that can assist with implementation of biosecurity measures for their operations. Loans can assist with:

  • Installing physical barriers to facilitate quarantine, to prevent livestock interaction with wildlife, and to prevent unauthorized access by visitors
  • Purchase of disinfectant, footbaths, and disposable footwear and clothing;
  • Veterinary costs related to vaccination and general animal health;
  • Testing of feed and water sources for toxins and other disease;
  • Costs associated with responsible manure disposal and management;
  • Costs associated with cleaning and disinfecting livestock transportation equipment; and
  • Other biosecurity measures recommended by USDA or other applicable agencies.

To learn more about loans, producers can use the:

  • Loan Assistance Tool – helps producers better navigate the farm loan process. The online Loan Assistance Tool provides producers needing agricultural financing with an interactive, step-by-step guide.
  • Farm Loans Overview Factsheet – provides an overview of all FSA direct and guaranteed loans, and eligibility requirements.
  • Farm Loans Homepage – gives in-depth farm loan information, including fact sheets, for those who don’t want to use the online Loan Assistance Tool.

To learn more about ELAP or farm loans, producers should contact the FSA at the local USDA Service Center.

To learn more about APHIS requirements and resources, visit APHIS’ Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) Detections in Livestock  webpage.

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