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USDA Expands Support for Producers to Stop the Spread of H5N1 in Dairy Cattle

USDA announces additional details to compensate producers for loss of milk production

WASHINGTON, May 23, 2024 -- Since the detection of H5N1 in dairy cattle in March, USDA has worked swiftly and diligently to assess the prevalence of the virus in U.S. dairy herds and to use the latest scientific data to learn about the virus and to quickly contain the disease event. As part of this multifaceted approach, on May 10, USDA announced several financial assistance options for producers with affected herds.

Today, USDA is announcing the expansion of some of these support options to include dairy producers whose herds have not tested positive for H5N1. USDA listened to feedback from state partners and industry stakeholders and is building on the Federal Order addressing pre-movement testing by further equipping producers with tools they can use to keep their herds and workers healthy and reduce risk of the virus spreading to additional herds. These financial tools include:

Support biosecurity planning and implementation. USDA will now provide financial support (up to $1,500 per premises) to any producer to develop and implement a biosecurity plan based on existing secure milk supply plans. This includes recommended enhanced biosecurity for individuals that frequently move between dairy farms – milk haulers, veterinarians, feed trucks, AI technicians, etc. In addition, USDA will provide a $100 payment to producers who purchase and use an in-line sampler for their milk system.

Reimburse producers for veterinary costs associated with sample collection for H5N1 testing. USDA is supporting producers by covering fees for veterinarians to collect samples for H5N1 testing. Veterinary sample collection costs are eligible to be covered from April 29, 2024 (the date the Federal Order went into effect), up to $2,000 per premises.

Offset shipping costs for influenza A testing at laboratories in the National Animal Health Laboratory Network. USDA will pay for the cost of shipping samples to NAHLN labs for testing, not to exceed $50 per shipment for up to 2 shipments per month for each premises. USDA is already providing no-cost testing at NAHLN laboratories for samples associated with this event (e.g., pre-movement, testing of sick/suspect animals, samples from concerned producers).

Interested producers should contact the APHIS Area Veterinarian in Charge (AVIC) to enroll.

For those producers with H5N1 affected herds, USDA is announcing additional details about how farmers will be compensated for the milk their cows do not produce because of illness.

Compensate producers for loss of milk production. USDA will soon issue a rule making funding available from the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-raised Fish Program (ELAP) to compensate eligible producers with positive herds who experience loss of milk production. While dairy cows that have been infected with H5N1 generally recover well, and there is little mortality associated with the disease, it does dramatically limit milk production, causing economic losses for producers with affected premises. USDA can support farmers with the ELAP program to offset some of these losses. USDA anticipates that its forthcoming rule will specify that farmers will receive payments at 90 percent of lost production per cow, for a set period of time retroactive to the date of the confirmation of their positive herd status, starting with the first herd that tested positive in March 2024.

The U.S. government is addressing this situation with urgency and through a whole-of-government approach. USDA is working closely with federal partners at FDA, which has the primary responsibility for the safety of milk and dairy products, by assisting with conducting pasteurization testing at USDA labs. USDA is also working closely with federal partners at CDC, which has the primary responsibility for public health, by encouraging producer and industry cooperation with public health officials to get vital information necessary to assess the level of risk to human health.

To learn more about USDA’s response to H5N1 in dairy cattle, visit


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