USDA granted authority to issue emergency avian flu assistance

USDA granted authority to issue emergency avian flu assistance

The Office of Management and Budget grants USDA authority to issue emergency assistance for poultry and egg producers facing H5N2 outbreaks

After Senate and House Ag Committee leadership requested help for poultry producers affected by H5N2 Highly Pathogenic Avian Flu - or "bird flu" – on Wednesday, the Office of Management and Budget has granted Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack authority to issue emergency assistance for poultry and egg producers whose flocks were hit with the virus.

Related: Avian flu timeline: A recap of HPAI headlines

Agriculture Committee Chairmen Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Rep. K. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, and Ranking Members Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., sent a letter to OMB to request the assistance.

The Office of Management and Budget grants USDA authority to issue emergency assistance for poultry and egg producers facing H5N2 outbreaks

The virus has spread to 14 states and affected more than 100 farms, resulting in the depopulation of 15 million birds, according to USDA.

"I applaud OMB for recognizing the urgency and gravity of this situation," Roberts said in a statement Friday. "I'm glad these producers who suffered significant losses will get the assistance they need to help them move forward and begin rebuilding. I also applaud poultry and egg producers for proactively doing everything within their power to protect the health of their flocks."

"As I have said before: America's farmers and ranchers, I've got your back. If it's up to me, this kind of cooperation in Washington will continue for the sake of rural America."

More related to the 2015 H5N2 outbreak:

USDA, CDC officials answer avian flu questions

New outbreak of bird flu hits Iowa, this time a large egg farm

Avian flu alert: Farmers urged to call USDA if birds seem ill

Source: Senate Ag Committee

TAGS: USDA
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