Biosecurity vigilance critical during spring migration

February 18, 2021

Although most of the U.S. is encountering winter weather, spring is right around the corner, and the wild birds are beginning to migrate back to northern breeding grounds. Migration is arduous, and birds need to make lots of fuel stops. Over time, birds learn the location of abundant food sources along their flight path, and unfortunately, many of these are in dense commercial poultry operations.

UEP urges members to be vigilant in reviewing and implementing biosecurity plans for 2021.   Biosecurity plans should be compliant with the National Poultry Improvement Plan’s (NPIP) 14 biosecurity principles. These include retraining employees on these principles and working with NPIP official state agencies.

USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued a final rule in late 2018 outlining the conditions under which USDA will pay an indemnity to farms affected by highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). It includes updates to USDA’s February 2016 interim rule and has three key factors:

  • Requires auditable biosecurity plans for larger-sized operations to receive indemnity payments.
  • Adopts biosecurity principles established by NPIP.
  • Allows indemnity payments to be split between poultry and egg owners and their contracted growers while providing a formula for the split.

HPAI continues to spread across Europe and Asia at an alarming rate. UEP engaged APHIS leadership in late 2020 to encourage the agency to provide an update on global detections, U.S. surveillance programs for wild birds, and NPIP biosecurity audits. The agency held a webinar on these topics on February 2, available here. Additional APHIS resources on HPAI are also available.

UEP staff will remain in contact with APHIS, monitor the situation, and provide updates to members and industry stakeholders. UEP is also working closely with the American Egg Board and reviewing the 2015 HPAI outbreak and lessons learned among both organizations. Please contact UEP staff if you have any questions concerning biosecurity plans and implementation or seek additional information on this or any other issue.