Monday, January 12, 2015

Insuring Poultry Flocks In Case Of Catastrophic Disease

Funding was included in the 2014 Farm Bill to determine the feasibility of insuring poultry producers for a catastrophic disease event.  As you know, USDA has offered crop insurance for many years - but never for poultry.   


Chickens put down with carbon dioxide due to Avian Influenza infection


Part of the required research is gathering input from those that might be involved or interested.  Watts and Associates (W&A) of Billings, Montana was hired to do this research.  W&A is interested in gathering information on the level of concern associated with catastrophic diseases in the poultry industry, risk management techniques related to such diseases, share of risk held by integrators and growers, and impressions about the current programs to assist with the costs associated with depopulation, cleaning, disinfection, and heightened surveillance procedures when there is a catastrophic disease event.

Besides a fire in our hatchery or a duck building, my biggest worry is a major disease -  specifically a "bad" salmonella or avian influenza.  Depopulation is the answer to these situations and with all our birds on one farm, we are very susceptible to this solution.  Therefore I am very interested in this type of insurance and will be attending the meeting in Atlanta as I will be at the International Poultry Expo.


As you may know, Avian Influenza has recently been discovered in Oregon, Washington, California and British Columbia, Canada.  Many commercial flocks of poultry have been destroyed in Canada.  So far the only birds destroyed in the US are large backyard flocks and a commercial turkey flock in California.  But what if you had a pastured poultry operation, your birds became infected with Avian Influenza from wild ducks and lost all your birds due to the infection or depopulation by the authorities?  Would you want insurance for something like this?  If you are a contracted grower, does your contract cover you should this happen to you?

Pair of wild Mallards.  Are they carrying AI?  Have they visited your birds?
I understand many of you do not have large enough flocks to insure, but if you do, you might want to attend one of these meetings.  Or if you know someone that would be interested, please tell them.  If there is not enough interest shown in insuring poultry at these meetings, it will be difficult for the USDA to pursuit it further.

Meetings are scheduled in the following locations:

January 26    1:30pm     Georgia World Conference Center (preceding the
    Monday                       International Poultry Expo)
                                        Room 410-A
                                        Atlanta, GA

February 3    2:00pm     St. Cloud Holiday Inn and Suites, St. Cloud Room
    Tuesday                      75 37th Avenue South
                                        St. Cloud, MN 

February 10  10:00am   Stanislaus County Harvest Hall, Modesto, CA
    Tuesday                       THIS MEETING HAS BEEN CANCELED.  IT WILL BE
                                        RESCHEDULED AFTER THE AI THREAT IN CALIFORNIA
                                        HAS BEEN BROUGHT UNDER CONTROL

February 12  9:00am      Farm and Home Foundation of Lancaster County
    Thursday                      1383 Arcadia Road
                                         Lancaster, PA

If you cannot attend a meeting and have input for W&A, email Randy Landgren.

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