ALABAMA POULTRY FARMERS MEET WITH GOVERNMENT AGENCIES, ELECTED OFFICIALS
October 07, 2015
U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Haleyville, center, receives a visit from Alabama poultry farmers today in Washington, D.C. Pike County poultry farmer Joe Murphy and Fayette County poultry farmer Joe Roberts visited the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and U.S. Reps Aderholt; Martha Roby, R-Montgomery; and Mike Rogers, R-Saks about the federal government's response to Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza.
Alabama Farmers Federation members visited elected officials and federal agencies in Washington, D.C., today to address government response to Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI).
HPAI, also called avian flu, is a serious, often fatal viral disease affecting many bird species, which could hurt the $15 billion that Alabama’s 2,775 poultry farmers inject into the state’s economy.
Fayette County poultry farmer Joe Roberts said he was impressed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's (APHIS) open door policy.
“They have a common sense response plan,” Roberts said. ”A lot of suggestions we had were already being implemented.”
Roberts, who chairs the Federation State Poultry Committee, said indemnity payments to farmers were among the response plans presented at the meeting.
In addition to meeting with APHIS, Roberts and Pike County poultry farmer Joe Murphy visited U.S. Reps. Robert Aderholt, R- Haleyville; Martha Roby, R-Montgomery; and Mike Rogers, R-Saks.
Murphy, who serves on the Federation State Poultry Committee, said it was comforting to know APHIS and multiple representatives were open and receptive to protecting one of Alabama’s most important industries.
“It brings government down to a personal level,” he said. “It’s good to know we have the support of our government and we have people working in government for the U.S. farmer.”
No cases of HPAI have been reported in Alabama, but 21 states have detected HPAI since December 2014.
The Federation’s Poultry Division Director Guy Hall said APHIS has addressed HPAI cleanup and indemnity processes and hopes to see its open door policy continue with farmers.
”We’re happy to hear APHIS has already met with farmers and made improvements to their avian influenza plan,” Hall said. “Our farmers are still looking at the possibility of loss income protection for farmers affected by avian influenza. We are hopeful that an affordable loss of revenue coverage will be developed by USDA's Farm Service Agency or Risk Management Agency for farmers who are out of protection because of a major disease outbreak.”