Poultry farmers in Lancaster and Berks County hit by avian flu that killed more than 4.2 million birds this year will receive aid from the state to recover their losses.
The state Department of Agriculture today announced its $25 million recovery and reimbursement program for poultry farmers hit by highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).
Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding was joined by Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) Director Randy Padfield, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and industry partners at a Mount Joy, Lancaster County farm to outline the program.
Farms that lost up to $100,000 will be reimbursed at 100%. Those that lost amounts over $100,000 may be reimbursed on a percentage basis, based on the number of applications received and available funding, according to the Department of Agriculture.
HPAI directly impacted 17 poultry farms in Lancaster and Berks counties this spring and summer.
“Pennsylvania’s poultry industry is $7.1 billion to the economy and 26,600 jobs. It’s food on the table here in the commonwealth and across the nation,” Redding said. “This $25 million recovery program was critical to secure, and I’m grateful to Governor Tom Wolf and the General Assembly for recognizing the value of this industry in the budget. Pennsylvania’s poultry producers and integrators will remain vigilant, and together we are prepared to continue fighting this threat to our food system and economy during upcoming migrations.”
This year, after years of pandemic and related supply chain and labor shortage issues, farmers are facing a historic outbreak of HPAI, said state House Speaker Brian Culter, R-Lancaster. “Creating jobs and literally putting food on the table, agriculture is our top industry.”
The grant program, administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, will provide reimbursement to farms, integrators, and allied industries directly impacted by HPAI by suffering demonstrable financial losses due to inclusion in a control or quarantine zone.
The HPAI Recovery Reimbursement Grant program is comprised of two rounds:
As of July 27, 2022, all Control Areas (the 10-kilometer perimeter around an infected, quarantined farm) have been lifted.
The General Quarantine Order is still in place, enabling the state to place additional restrictions on HPAI-infected farms to control the spread of the disease. The prohibition on exhibiting poultry at fairs is also still in place.
To apply for the grant program, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s website. To learn more about HPAI, visit the avian influenza web page.