APHIS proposes changes to poultry indemnity rates

Rates previously calculated on per-bird basis and now will be on per-square foot basis.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is proposing updates to its virus elimination flat rate payments for floor-raised meat poultry facilities affected by notifiable avian influenza, which means any high-pathogenicity avian influenza and by H5 and H7 subtypes with low pathogenicity.

When a poultry facility becomes infected with notifiable avian influenza, virus elimination is a crucial step in the recovery process. APHIS provides reimbursement for virus elimination activities conducted by the owner/producer but must ensure that these activities are both time and cost effective.

APHIS would provide a single virus elimination flat rate for all floor-raised meat poultry facilities. The rate is calculated based on the square footage of the facility and covers labor, equipment and supplies to clean and disinfect equipment, materials and the interior of barns. Because the use of dry cleaning followed by heating is, in many cases, the most cost- and time-effective virus elimination method, these activities are used in the calculations.

However, the barn owner may use the method that is most appropriate -- as approved by state animal health officials and APHIS -- to expedite the process. The rate assumes that certain materials will be cleaned and disinfected, but APHIS would pay separately for materials that cannot be safely or adequately cleaned, providing the fair market value of disposed items.

This would be a change from previous flat rates, which were calculated on a per-bird basis. After a thorough review, APHIS moved to a per-square foot basis for flat rates in order to make the process more cost effective and reduce the impact to taxpayers. APHIS is working on separate flat rates to address caged layers, breeder birds and ground birds (layers or housed). The new rates would make payments for virus elimination activities more equitable across facilities.

APHIS invites the public to review and comment on the notifiable avian influenza virus elimination flat rate for floor-raised poultry document. APHIS said it will accept comments until Jan. 12, 2018, at [email protected] After the comment period ends, APHIS will review and consider all comments and issue a final document based on feedback received. View the document here.

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