Farmers who have to pull cows from their dairy herds due to positive H5N1 virus tests can apply for USDA help, from an expanded program.

  Application window opens July 1st

Beginning July 1st, farmers can apply for help from the USDA through what's called the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-raised Fish Program (ELAP) program.

The program was expanded by USDA according to information they released:

 "USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) expanded ELAP through the rule-making process to assist with a portion of financial losses resulting from reduced milk production when cattle are removed from commercial milking in dairy herds having a confirmed positive H5N1 test."

The USDA says affected animals must have a positive virus test that is confirmed through the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL).

According to the USDA, there are the criteria:

"Eligible adult dairy cattle must be:

  • Part of a herd that has a confirmed positive H5N1 test from NVSL;
  • Initially removed from commercial milk production at some point during the 14-day time period before the sample collection date for the positive H5N1 test date through 120 days after the sample collection date for the positive H5N1 test;
  • Milk-producing, currently lactating; and
  • Maintained for commercial milk production, in which the producer has a financial risk, on the beginning date of the eligible loss condition."

For complete information on the program, and how to apply click here. Farmers need to contact the FSA at their local service center.

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