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Baldwin Leads Group Urging USDA to Address Avian Flu Outbreak
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 02/07/2023

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) led a bipartisan group of colleagues in sending a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack, urging the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to take swift action to address the ongoing outbreak of avian influenza by quickly disseminating funds provided by Congress in the Fiscal Year 2023 Agriculture Appropriations bill, which was signed into law by President Biden in December.

"This unprecedented outbreak, which has been on-going since February 2022, is devastating poultry flocks across the country and contributing to an increase in poultry and egg prices for consumers," the Senators wrote. "We acknowledge APHIS's current efforts to address the spread of the disease. However, it is imperative the agency quickly deploy additional resources and work with the states in improving biosecurity measures within the avian supply chain, including the disinfection of sites and the testing and quarantining of affected flocks."

As of Jan. 31, APHIS confirmed avian flu had been found in 745 flocks in 47 states, and affected over 58 million birds, directly contributing to rising egg prices. In the Fiscal Year 2023 Omnibus Appropriations Act signed into law late last year, Congress provided an increase in annual funding to address the avian influenza outbreak, including over $64 million for improving avian health, and updated guidance on proactively mitigating the spread of disease. Additionally, Congress directed APHIS to increase outreach and engagement with poultry producers to educate them on how to proactively halt further spread.

"We request the agency expeditiously utilize the increase in annual funding provided by Congress for activities to prevent further spread of the avian influenza and to mitigate the impact this historic wave of disease has had on our states' farmers and consumers," the Senators continued.

In addition to Senator Baldwin, the letter was signed by Senators John Boozman (R-AR), Tom Carper (D-DE), Bob Casey (D-PA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Roger Wicker (R-MS).


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