USDA plans to devote another $400 million to help provide support for responses to outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) that have affected nearly 38 million birds in 35 U.S. states since November.
The funding will allow the agency’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to continue its national rapid response activities, including programs to help animal health officials in affected areas to quickly identify and address new HPAI outbreaks, USDA said in a news release.
“Safeguarding U.S. poultry and egg producers from the effects avian influenza could have on agriculture and trade is a critical aspect of this response, and this funding will allow APHIS personnel to continue to deploy and support the emergency wherever they are needed,” said USDA Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack last week approved the latest funding transfer from the Commodity Credit Corporation, the third such action since the beginning of the year for a total of $393 million in March and April alone. APHIS — which has mobilized 1,125 employees to cover HPAI outbreaks — also reported that more than 10.8 million commercial and backyard birds in nine new states were affected by HPAI since the April funding transfer.
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