$200 Million US investment to tackle bird flu in agriculture

May 14, 2024

By Farms.com

The U.S. government is stepping up its efforts to prevent bird flu from affecting the dairy industry and the broader public with a new $200 million funding initiative. Announced on Friday, this plan is a dual strategy focusing on both agricultural and public health fronts to combat the spread of the virus.

Half of the funds, $100 million, will be allocated by the Agriculture Department to help dairy farms implement effective biosecurity measures. Each affected farm could receive financial support up to $28,000 to cover various preventive actions, including veterinary costs and biosecurity improvements.

Simultaneously, the Department of Health and Human Services is directing another $100 million towards enhancing virus tracking capabilities, including contact tracing and wastewater analysis, alongside advancing research on effective vaccines.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack highlighted the commitment to providing up-to-date scientific support to farmers, helping them manage the challenges posed by the bird flu outbreak. The USDA reports active virus detections in 42 dairy herds across nine states, prompting federal support for restrictive measures and financial assistance to offset milk production disruptions.

Officials maintain that the risk to the commercial milk and beef supply is low, with the majority of affected cattle recovering. Nonetheless, there is an ongoing demand for a coordinated government response to ensure the virus does not evolve or spread to humans.

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