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Cultivator — November 13, 2015

Protection For Poultry Farmers Sought

U.S. Sens. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) were two of 10 Southern senators who sent Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack a letter Nov. 5 asking to protect poultry farmers should an avian influenza outbreak occur this fall. In Alabama, poultry accounts for 86,237 jobs and $15.1 billion annually in economic impact according to a recent study.

U.S. Sens. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and Jeff Sessions, (R-Ala.) signed on to a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack Nov. 5 seeking additional protection for poultry growers should an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) occur this fall.

The letter, signed by 10 Southern senators, requests USDA address the potential financial impact on growers as it implements its Fall 2015 HPAI Preparedness and Response Plan.

Alabama Farmers Federation Poultry Division Director Guy Hall praised Alabama’s senators for their initiative to protect farmers and the poultry industry.

“We appreciate Sens. Shelby and Sessions recognizing the cost an HPAI outbreak could have on individual producers and the industry as a whole,” Hall said. “The disease could disrupt the supply chain for farmers not directly affected by an outbreak. This could create a financial burden, and it’s important to protect those farmers from losses that could threaten their livelihoods.”

Specifically, the letter requests USDA:

  • Allow indemnity payments to be split between poultry companies and contracted farmers with affected birds.
  • Provide indemnity payments for downtime caused by an outbreak as well as bird mortality.
  • Develop guidelines to restructure existing direct and guaranteed loans to provide financial flexibility to farmers impacted by HPAI.

Other U.S. Senators who signed the letter were John Boozman (R-Ark.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), David Perdue (R-Ga.), David Vitter (R-La.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).

To view the letter to Vilsack, visit

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PDF: Cultivator — November 13, 2015

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