USDA proposes updates to poultry improvement plan

Federal officials are proposing updates to the National Poultry Improvement Plan, to align it with changes in the industry and to incorporate new scientific information and technology.

The plan is a collaboration between industry members and government officials. It aims to protect the nation’s poultry flocks from damaging diseases like salmonella and avian influenza.

The new proposal from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has four main components:

1) Create a new U.S. Newcastle Disease Clean program

Through the program, owners could show their flocks meet all requirements to be considered unaffected by Newcastle Disease by both the Official State Agency and APHIS. By making the requirements for Newcastle Disease Clean similar to the requirements for the Avian Influenza Clean program, clean flocks could participate in international and interstate trade during a Newcastle Disease outbreak, the announcement said.

2) Update low pathogenic avian influenza regulations on indemnity and compensation

The proposal adds and clarifies definitions for various terms related to providing payments for animals, materials, cleaning and disinfection, and other steps needed for infected farms to return to normal business. It also codifies the use of appraisal calculators to determine compensation amounts.

3) Create a poultry plan subpart specific to the game bird industry

The game bird industry has grown rapidly and is more complex now than it was when it started, the announcement said. This subpart would add testing regimes, terminology and programs specifically designed for the industry.

4) APHIS also said it will clarify and update program regulations to match current scientific information and technologies.

USDA is accepting public comments on the proposal until February 3, 2020.