As the avian influenza continues to pose a significant threat to livestock, staying informed on the latest guidelines and regulations is crucial for dairy farmers. In our recent episode of Seen and Herd, Anja Raudabaugh provided an in-depth look at the newest federal orders issued by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). These orders mandate the testing and reporting of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) for lactating dairy cattle moving interstate.

Key Updates:

  1. Mandatory Testing and Reporting:
  2. All lactating dairy cattle must test negative for HPAI at an approved lab before interstate movement. This includes animals moving within closed systems and to exhibitions, shows, or sales.
  3. Positive herds are subject to a 30-day hold on interstate movement.
  4. Clarifications and Definitions:
  5. APHIS has provided a clear definition of what constitutes a lactating dairy cow to ensure there is no confusion.
  6. Guidelines specify no exemptions for cattle moving within closed systems.
  7. Financial Support and Resources:
  8. Up to $2,000 per affected farm per month for PPE for workers, though this is only available to farms that have tested positive for HPAI.
  9. Financial assistance is available for developing biosecurity plans and for heat-treating waste milk to prevent the further spread of the virus.
  10. Reimbursement for veterinary costs and testing fees is also provided.
  11. Biosecurity Measures:
  12. Farmers are urged to update their biosecurity plans to include measures against avian influenza.
  13. USDA recommendations emphasize thorough disinfection of livestock trailers and limiting farm activity to reduce the risk of disease transmission.
  14. Exhibition and Fair Guidelines:
  15. The USDA advises against showing cattle at fairs this year due to the high risk of disease spread.
  16. If participation in exhibitions is necessary, strict biosecurity and health reporting measures must be followed.
  17. Organizers are encouraged to develop protocols for handling potentially sick animals and to limit public contact with livestock.

Anja also highlighted the importance of these measures and provided practical advice for farmers to safeguard their herds and operations. Staying updated on these guidelines is essential for maintaining the health and productivity of your farm during this challenging time.

For more detailed information and to hear the full discussion, listen to the latest episode of Seen and Herd.

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