EAST EARL, PA. — Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro proposed a budget with concentrated efforts to support the state’s $7.1 billion poultry industry during the global outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).
“Hi-Path Avian Influenza is one of the most significant animal public health emergencies in American history — and it’s hitting us hard here in Pennsylvania,” Shapiro said.
Pennsylvania was first hit with the virus in April 2022. Since then, 31 commercial flocks and 36 backyard flocks have been affected, bringing the total number of birds culled in the state to 4.7 million. Over the past month, four commercial flocks, 20 backyard flocks and over 130,000 birds have been affected.
The Pennsylvania Animal Diagnostic Lab System has run more than 421,000 tests in its three state-supported labs, and a team of about 700 trained and certified poultry technicians have taken samples on hundreds of farms beyond those where the virus was confirmed.
The proposed Pennsylvania budget will support ongoing response and recovery efforts, including the following:
- $25 million for the recovery fund helping fill the gap between federal indemnity funds and the real losses poultry businesses are facing.
- $6 million to support the Pennsylvania Animal Diagnostic Lab System and reimburse poultry businesses for supplies for the 549 privately employed, trained technicians taking samples to rule out or confirm suspected infections.
- $1 million to support the PA Center for Poultry Excellence at PennAg Industries that puts training, equipment, and man and woman power behind this response.
- $58.9 million for the Agricultural College Land Scrip Fund – a $1.2 million increase to the fund that supports veterinary research at Penn State and the work of Penn State Extension. PSU Extension provides training, expertise, and direct, hands-on support in the field to help ensure poultry producers in all types of operations understand biosecurity and how to effectively protect their flocks.
- Over $34 million for the University of Pennsylvania’s Veterinary Activities and Center for Infectious Disease to help keep Pennsylvania at the forefront of disease detection, prevention and response.
- Over $2 million for agriculture research, including animal health research to keep Pennsylvania on the cutting edge of virus control and source-tracing for the HPAI challenge, and for the many other challenges Pennsylvania agriculture faces.
On March 29, Shapiro along with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and Senator Scott Martin met with Lancaster County farmers at Silver Valley Farm to hear personal accounts and challenges with the ongoing HPAI outbreaks.
“This could have a severe ripple effect across our economy,” Martin said, referring to the HPAI crisis. “But the good news is this: Between the industry communications, the absolute responsiveness of the administration and the governor’s team, the citizens of not only this county but the commonwealth and all those who are watching what’s happening here in Pennsylvania, they can have confidence that we’re not only just committed to dealing with this in the here and now, but how best to prepare as we move forward to ensure that that responsiveness and learning from how we can do things better.”
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