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Dairy industry fights back against H5N1


In response to the H5N1 avian influenza detection in dairy cattle this March, the USDA has expanded its financial assistance program for producers. This broader support aims to prevent the disease's spread and mitigate its impact on affected farms.

One key initiative involves funding biosecurity plans. Each farm can receive up to $1,500 to develop protocols focusing on preventing the virus's entry and spread. These plans will include specific guidelines for personnel who frequently visit farms, such as veterinarians and milk haulers.

The USDA will cover veterinary costs associated with collecting H5N1 testing samples, up to $2,000 per farm. Additionally, they'll offset shipping costs for influenza A testing at designated labs, with a maximum of $50 per shipment and a two-shipment monthly limit.

For farms already struggling with H5N1 outbreaks, a forthcoming rule will provide compensation for lost milk production. While H5N1 rarely kills cows, it significantly reduces milk output, leading to economic hardship. The new rule is expected to offer a 90% reimbursement for lost production per cow, retroactive to the first confirmed positive herd in March.

The USDA is collaborating with the FDA and CDC to address this situation comprehensively. They're working with the FDA to ensure milk safety and with the CDC to assess potential public health risks.

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