Cleaning a truck used to haul away dead birds. (file photo)

Cleaning a truck used to haul away dead birds. (file photo)

The U.S.D.A. is revising its response to avian influenza outbreaks and it will use a flat reimbursement rate for the costs of destroying birds and cleaning up the facilities infected with the virus.

Iowa Poultry Association executive director, Randy Olson, says they’re good moves.

“We’re happy the U.S.D.A. is continuing to make modifications to its response,” Olson says. “Our members are examining the proposed rules on reimbursement rates and we hope to know more about their reaction in the coming weeks.”

The biggest part of the revision, he says, is the flat reimbursement rate when an entire flock has to be euthanized. “What we’ve learned during 2015 was the time and energy it takes to clean and disinfect these barns was beyond what the U.S.D.A. had anticipated,” Olson says. “U.S.D.A. is making an effort to streamline that process.”

Olson says there are a variety of depopulation methods producers can use and ventilation shutdown has proven effective. He says despite activist concerns, it’s a humane method in that it accomplishes effective depopulation as quickly as possible, while ensuring any remaining birds remain healthy by being protected from the flu.

Olson says, “The key takeaway is that within 24 hours, these barns need to be depopulated to stem the spread of further disease to prohibit otherwise healthy birds from getting sick.” Under the revision, turkeys will be reimbursed at a rate of $3.55 per bird, layers at $6.45 per bird and broilers at $1.15 per bird.

(Reporting by Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton)