ELAP Funding Available for H5N1 Affected Dairy Herds

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Starting today (Monday, July 1), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin accepting applications for financial assistance from dairy producers who experienced milk losses due to highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1). The funds are part of the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-raised Fish Program (ELAP).

ELAP provides emergency relief to eligible producers of livestock, honeybees, and farm-raised fish to assist with losses due to disease, adverse weather, or other conditions, such as wildfires, that are not covered by other Farm Service Agency (FSA) disaster assistance programs. In this case, funding is available for farms that incurred milk losses due to reduced production from cows that tested positive for H5N1.

According to USDA, eligible adult dairy cattle must be:

  • Part of a herd that has a confirmed positive H5N1 test from an Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service National Veterinary Service Laboratory
  • Initially removed from commercial milk production at some point during the 14-day time period before the sample collection date for the positive H5N1 test date through 120 days after the sample collection date for the positive H5N1 test
  • Milk producing and currently lactating
  • Maintained for commercial milk production, in which the producer has a financial risk, on the beginning date of the eligible loss condition

The payment will be calculated on a per cow basis based on an expected 21-day period of no milk production, followed by seven days for when the cow has returned to milking but produced half its normal production level. The calculation is based on the monthly All-Milk price and the national milk production level published by the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

To apply, dairy producers can work with their local FSA office. They will need to submit proof of herd infection through a confirmed positive H5N1 test on individual animal or bulk tank samples. Also needed is a notice of loss indicating the date when the loss is apparent, which is the sample collection date for the positive H5N1 test. In addition, they must complete an application for payment certifying the number of eligible adult dairy cows, the month the cows were removed from production, and the producer’s share in the milk production. The final date to file a notice of loss and application for payment for eligible losses is January 30.