APHIS convenes poultry, egg groups on LPAI

August 25, 2017

United Egg Producers and other stakeholders provided feedback to USDA-APHIS regarding the best ways to respond to outbreaks of low-pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI). The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) convened the August 22-23 meeting in Maryland, and the forum drew representatives of trade associations, state agencies, genetics firms and individual production companies in the broiler, turkey and egg sectors. The two most controversial topics were whether APHIS should rely more on controlled marketing rather than immediate depopulation in LPAI outbreaks and how LPAI indemnities can be funded. The two topics are related, in that federal funding previously dedicated to LPAI indemnities was used up in the early stages of the 2015 highly pathogenic AI outbreak.

To some industry participants, the renewed interest in controlled marketing seems driven in part by a lack of funding for indemnities. However, turkey industry spokespeople defended the use of controlled marketing, which they say has worked well in some cases.

APHIS officials acknowledged budgetary challenges and emphasized that controlled marketing will be used only in narrowly-defined situations. Industry groups, including UEP, plan a follow-up meeting with APHIS to discuss the issues further. The August meeting did not produce a sector-wide consensus for or against controlled marketing, though all private groups seemed to agree on the need for adequate indemnity funding.