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Avian Influenza Confirmed in Utah Flock

Officials with the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) confirmed a diagnosis of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a small backyard flock of birds in Utah County on Friday.

“Our state veterinarian’s office was notified of symptomatic birds in Utah County and our team was immediately dispatched to assess the situation,” said Utah State Veterinarian, Dr. Dean Taylor. “Proper steps have been taken to prevent further spread of the disease.”

UDAF officials have worked closely with the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Inspection Service (APHIS) on their incident response. The area in which the birds were located has been quarantined and the infected birds have been depopulated to prevent further spread of the disease.

As part of existing avian influenza response plans, UDAF and its federal partners are working jointly on additional surveillance and testing in areas around the affected flock.

Anyone with birds located in Utah County please vigilantly watch your flock for symptoms of HPAI, which include high death loss among flocks, nasal discharge, decreased appetite or water consumption, and lack of coordination in birds. If birds are experiencing any of these symptoms, please contact the state veterinarian’s office immediately at statevet@utah.gov.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the recent HPAI detections do not present an immediate public health concern. No human cases of this strain of HPAI have been detected in the United States. As a reminder, the proper handling and cooking of all poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165 ˚F is recommended as a general food safety precaution.

Anyone involved with poultry production from the small backyard to the large commercial producer should review their biosecurity activities to assure the health of their birds. APHIS has materials about biosecurity, including videos, checklists, and a toolkit available at: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalhealth/animal-disease-information/avian/defend-the-flock-program/dtf-resources/dtf-resources.

For more information including a nationwide map, click here.

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USDA to Provide Payments to Livestock Producers Impacted by Drought or Wildfire

The U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that ranchers who have approved applications through the 2021 Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) for forage losses due to severe drought or wildfire in 2021 will soon begin receiving emergency relief payments for increases in supplemental feed costs in 2021 through the Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) new Emergency Livestock Relief Program (ELRP).

“Producers of grazing livestock experienced catastrophic losses of available forage as well as higher costs for supplemental feed in 2021. Unfortunately, the conditions driving these losses have not improved for many and have even worsened for some, as drought spreads across the U.S.,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.  “In order to deliver much-needed assistance as efficiently as possible, phase one of the ELRP will use certain data from the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP), allowing USDA to distribute payments within days to livestock producers.”

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Background: 

On September 30, 2021, President Biden signed into law the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act (P.L. 117-43). This Act includes $10 billion in assistance to agricultural producers impacted by wildfires, droughts, hurricanes, winter storms and other eligible disasters experienced during calendar years 2020 and 2021. Additionally, the Act specifically targets $750 million to provide assistance to livestock producers for losses incurred due to drought or wildfires in calendar year 2021. ELRP is part of FSA’s implementation of the Act.

For impacted ranchers, USDA will leverage LFP data to deliver immediate relief for increases in supplemental feed costs in 2021. LFP is an important tool that provides up to 60% of the estimated replacement feed cost when an eligible drought adversely impacts grazing lands or 50% of the monthly feed cost for the number of days the producer is prohibited from grazing the managed rangeland because of a qualifying wildfire.

FSA received more than 100,000 applications totaling nearly $670 million in payments to livestock producers under LFP for the 2021 program year.

Congress recognized requests for assistance beyond this existing program and provided specific funding for disaster-impacted livestock producers in 2021.
 

ELRP Eligibility – Phase One: 

To be eligible for an ELRP payment under phase one of program delivery, livestock producers must have suffered gazing losses in a county rated by the U.S. Drought Monitor as having a D2 (severe drought) for eight consecutive weeks or a D3 (extreme drought) or higher level of drought intensity during the 2021 calendar year, and have applied and been approved for 2021 LFP. Additionally, producers whose permitted grazing on federally managed lands was disallowed due to wildfire are also eligible for ELRP payments, if they applied and were approved for 2021 LFP.

As part of FSA’s efforts to streamline and simplify the delivery of ELRP phase one benefits, producers are not required to submit an application for payment; however, they must have the following forms on file with FSA within a subsequently announced deadline as determined by the Deputy Administrator for Farm Programs:

  • CCC-853, Livestock Forage Disaster Program Application
  • Form AD-2047, Customer Data Worksheet.
  • Form CCC-902, Farm Operating Plan for an individual or legal entity.
  • Form CCC-901, Member Information for Legal Entities (if applicable).
  • Form FSA-510, Request for an Exception to the $125,000 Payment Limitation for Certain Programs (if applicable).
  • Form CCC-860, Socially Disadvantaged, Limited Resource, Beginning and Veteran Farmer or Rancher Certification, if applicable, for the 2021 program year.
  • A highly erodible land conservation (sometimes referred to as HELC) and wetland conservation certification (Form AD-1026 Highly Erodible Land Conservation (HELC) and Wetland Conservation (WC) Certification) for the ELRP producer and applicable affiliates.

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ELRP Payment Calculation – Phase One:
 
 

To further expedite payments to eligible livestock producers, determine eligibility, and calculate an ELRP phase one payment, FSA will utilize livestock inventories and drought-affected forage acreage or restricted animal units and grazing days due to wildfire already reported by the producer when they submitted a 2021 CCC-853, Livestock Forage Disaster Program Application form.

Phase one ELRP payments will be equal to the eligible livestock producer’s gross 2021 LFP calculated payment multiplied by a payment percentage, to reach a reasonable approximation of increased supplemental feed costs for eligible livestock producers in 2021.

The ELRP payment percentage will be 90% for historically underserved producers, including beginning, limited resource, and veteran farmers and ranchers, and 75% for all other producers.  These payments will be subject to a payment limitation.

To qualify for the higher payment percentage, eligible producers must have a CCC-860, Socially Disadvantaged, Limited Resource, Beginning and Veteran Farmer or Rancher Certification, form on file with FSA for the 2021 program year.

Payments to eligible producers through phase one of ELRP are estimated to total more than $577 million.

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ELRP – Phase Two:

Today’s announcement is only Phase One of relief for livestock producers.  FSA continues to evaluate and identify impacts of 2021 drought and wildfire on livestock producers to ensure equitable and inclusive distribution of much-needed emergency relief program benefits.

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Emergency Relief Program (ERP) Assistance for Crop Producers: 

FSA is developing a two-phased process to provide assistance to diversified, row crop and specialty crop operations that were impacted by an eligible natural disaster event in calendar years 2020 or 2021.

This program will provide assistance to crop producers and will follow a two-phased process similar to that of the livestock assistance with implementation of the first phase in the coming weeks. Phase one of the crop assistance program delivery will leverage existing Federal Crop Insurance or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program data as the basis for calculating initial payments.

Making the initial payments using existing safety net and risk management data will both speed implementation and further encourage participation in these permanent programs, including the Pasture, Rangeland, Forage Rainfall Index Crop Insurance Program, as Congress intended.

The second phase of the crop program will be intended to fill additional assistance gaps and cover eligible producers who did not participate in existing risk management programs.

Through proactive communication and outreach, USDA will keep producers and stakeholders informed as ERP implementation details are made available.

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Additional Livestock Drought Assistance: 

Due to the persistent drought conditions in the Great Plains and West, FSA will be offering additional relief through the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-raised Fish Program (ELAP) to help ranchers cover above normal costs of hauling livestock to forage.  This policy enhancement complements previously announced ELAP compensation for hauling feed to livestock.  Soon after FSA announced the assistance for hauling feed to livestock, stakeholders were quick to point out that producers also were hauling the livestock to the feed source as well and encouraged this additional flexibility.

It is important to note that, unlike ELRP emergency relief benefits which are only applicable for eligible losses incurred in the 2021 calendar year, this ELAP livestock and feed hauling compensation will not only be retroactive for 2021 but will also be available for losses in 2022 and subsequent years.

To calculate ELAP program benefits, an online tool is currently available to help producers document and estimate payments to cover feed transportation cost increases caused by drought and will soon be updated to assist producers with calculations associated with drought related costs incurred for hauling livestock to forage

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More Information:  

Additional USDA disaster assistance information can be found on farmers.gov, including USDA resources specifically for producer impacted by drought and wildfire and the Disaster Assistance Discovery ToolDisaster-at-a-Glance fact sheet, and Farm Loan Discovery Tool. For FSA and Natural Resources Conservation Service programs, producers should contact their local USDA Service Center. For assistance with a crop insurance claim, producers and landowners should contact their crop insurance agent.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit usda.gov.

 


 

UDAF Finds Salmonella in Ground Beef Products

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) collected samples of ground beef from International Marketplace in Midvale during a routine inspection on March 22, 2022, which tested positive for Salmonella enterica.

UDAF issued a cease and desist order on the meat department of the International Marketplace on March 31, 2022, and all products were subsequently embargoed. Additional testing was also done on March 31, and products tested presumptive for Salmonella.

Based on laboratory results, any ground beef products produced by International Marketplace from March 22 to March 31, 2022 are deemed under suspicion of contamination. Consumers who purchased ground beef products from this location between the suspected dates are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.

Eating food contaminated with Salmonella may cause salmonellosis. The most common symptoms of salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating the contaminated product. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days. Most individuals recover without treatment; however, in some individuals, diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Older adults, infants, and persons with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop a severe illness. Individuals concerned about an illness should contact their health care provider, UDAF, and the Utah Department of Health. Individuals may also report suspected illness to igotsick.health.utah.gov.

UDAF and the Utah Public Health Laboratory are currently testing other products derived from the International Marketplace to determine the scope of the contamination. Additionally, a foodborne illness investigation is currently underway.

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Bulls Test Positive for Trich in Box Elder County

The Utah State Veterinarian’s office has identified several cases of trichomoniasis (Trich) positive bulls from a beef cattle herd in Box Elder County. This herd had grazed the summer of 2021 at a grazing association in southern Idaho with several other herds, including at least six herds from Utah.

There are ten potentially exposed cattle herds that are awaiting test results; five herds belonging to the aforementioned grazing association and five herds that neighbor the affected properties.

“It is concerning to have this large of an outbreak of Trich in Utah cattle herds,” said Dr. Dean Taylor, Utah State Veterinarian. “Our office is working closely with local veterinarians to conduct testing and are taking measures to stop the spread of this disease.”

Trich is a venereal disease of cattle caused by a protozoa (microscopic parasite). It is spread between cattle during breeding. Cows generally abort the fetus from this breeding and then clear the infection, but bulls remain infected for life. There is no treatment for Trich and this disease can be economically devastating to cattle herds because of:

  • Culling of positive bulls and purchase of replacement bulls
  • Increased abortion rate leading to a reduced calf crop
  • Prolonged calving season and lower calf weights at sale
  • Culling of open cows
  • Loss of genetics

Utah requires yearly testing of all bulls for Trich, with the exception of dairy cattle who are kept in confinement and bison bulls. Animals from one positive herd moved into the grazing association in 2021 without proper paperwork. It is also suspected that bulls from this herd were leased to other ranches for breeding purposes. If you leased a bull from the Box Elder County area and are concerned this could affect your cattle herd, please contact the Utah State Veterinarian’s office by emailing statevet@utah.gov.

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) is taking steps to quarantine affected animals and will place the herds with positive tests on a plan to stop the spread of the disease.

An Update from UDAF’s Animal Industry

State Veterinarian Dr. Dean Taylor speaking to updates regarding the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) outbreak affecting eastern states and guidance on the Equine Herpesvirus (EHV1) outbreak in Utah. If you have animals showing signs of either illness, please contact the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food at agriculture@utah.gov.

Watch the full video update here: