NAEF Pushes For Full Indemnity for Egg Farmers as Specified in Law

On May 20, NAEF asked Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN), the Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee, and Rep. Steve King (R-IA) also on the House Agriculture, the two Congressmen whose districts are the hardest hit by avian flu, to ensure APHIS pays full indemnity to egg farmers depopulating their birds because of avian influenza.  Below is a paragraph from the letters sent to the Congressmen.


The numbers of birds depopulated is staggering as this outbreak is the worst avian influenza virus ever to strike the United States.  In addition to the farmers taking steps to destroy these presumptive positive birds, the USDA Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service is assisting in this emergency.  Unfortunately, USDA is only recently acknowledging responsibility as outlined in 9 CFR part 56.4 (a) (1) to indemnify egg farmers for the value of their hens by funding the future production of those depopulated birds. Will you please help the egg farmers receive the full value as outlined in 9 CFR part 56.4


  1. 1.What Does the Law Specify Regarding Indemnity Payments for Layers?


NAEF has learned in talking with some of the farmers depopulating their flocks, APHIS case workers are not following the regulatory guidelines for indemnity payments.  Here is how the law specifies how indemnities are to be paid, including the loss from future eggs those laying chickens would have produced. Those who are NAEF members have received this regulation and have forwarded this information to their APHIS case worker seeking an explanation.


9 CFR §56.4   Determination of indemnity amounts.

(a)             Destruction and disposal of poultry. 

(b)             (1) Indemnity for the destruction of poultry infected with or exposed to H5/H7 LPAI will be based on the fair market value of the poultry, as determined by an appraisal. Poultry infected with or exposed to H5/H7 LPAI that are removed by APHIS or a Cooperating State Agency from a flock will be appraised by an APHIS official appraiser and a State official appraiser jointly, or, if APHIS and State authorities agree, by either an APHIS official appraiser or a State official appraiser alone. For laying hens, the appraised value should include the hen's projected future egg production. Appraisals of poultry must be reported on forms furnished by APHIS and signed by the appraisers and must be signed by the owners of the poultry to indicate agreement with the appraisal amount. Appraisals of poultry must be signed by the owners of the poultry prior to the destruction of the poultry, unless the owners, APHIS, and the Cooperating State Agency agree that the poultry may be destroyed immediately. Reports of appraisals must show the number of birds and the value per head.



NAEF Responds to HSUS Misinformation About Bird Flu

Dear Editor of the Green Bay Press Gazette: Publishing today's article “Industrial Agriculture To Blame in Bird Flu Outbreak” is unworthy of your readers due to the many untrue statements.



 The author from the Humane Society of the US (HSUS) referencing the emergence and spread of virulent strains of avian influenza has been attributed to “the overcrowded, unsanitary, and inhumane conditions in today’s industrial animal agriculture system”. What experts are making these claims and where is the science for such claims? According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service Avian influenza is a viral disease that occurs internationally and can infect wild birds (such as ducks, gulls, and shorebirds) as well as domestic poultry (such as chickens, turkeys, ducks, and geese).  This current outbreak has USDA reporting a number of flocks with this disease including a number of small backyard flocks, one with only 10 birds.  This certainly disputes the author’s claim of “overcrowding” is behind the disease. This is a flu for birds just as there is for people—and, as with people, some forms of the flu are worse than others. HPAI can spread fast and quickly kill chickens and turkeys. Wild birds, however, can carry HPAI viruses without appearing sick. Since December 2014, USDA has confirmed several cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5 in the Pacific, Central, and Mississippi flyways (or migratory bird paths).So, the claims by federal officials that waterfowl is a likely source of the virus are not without merit. 


HSUS has tried repeatedly to besmirch the modern conventional cage systems in the egg industry today and the author’s statements of unsanitary condition is just one more attempt. Today’s modern conventional egg farm is regulated for food safety under the FDA egg safety law known as “Prevention of Salmonella Enteritidis in Shell Eggs During Production, Storage, and Transportation.  The FDA rule includes sanitation procedures along with cleaning and disinfection which are overseen by federal inspectors coming to every commercial egg farm.  The farms are also routinely swabbed to determine if Salmonella is even in the environment let alone the chicken or the eggs.  


The Green Bay Press Gazette readers should instead be informed that The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers the risk to people from these HPAI H5 infections to be low. No human cases of these HPAI H5 viruses have been detected in the United States, Canada, or internationally. This disputes the HSUS writer’s statement “In the wake of public health scares such as bird flu.”  He’s the one causing the scaring of the public by making false statements.


It’s unfortunate that the author with HSUS would use the unfortunate circumstance of a poultry disease to bring out misinformation supporting the misguided agenda of HSUS.  Hopefully your readers will realize this also.


Des Moines Register Defames Iowa Egg Industry and NAEF Sets Record Straight

Dear Editor,

It is disheartening to read the defamation heaped on Iowa egg farmers by the Des Moines Editorial Board in today’s edition entitled “Egg Safety Rules Full of Cracks”.

It’s apparent this board wants to tighten the reins on egg farmers with additional regulations when they are already complying with the most comprehensive of food safety requirements in the history of the egg industry.  This board cites the actions of the one egg farmer and his son who were criminally prosecuted as if what they did was a common practice for all egg farmers in the state.  This is untrue.  I was there during the Congressional oversight hearings of this father and son in Washington, DC and saw the pitiful example they portrayed of farming. 

Having been on the farms of many Iowa egg farmers, I know firsthand what this board does not understand, that the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) egg safety rule [21 C.F.R. part 118 ThePrevention of Salmonella Enteritidis in Shell Eggs During Production, Storage, and Transportation] went into effect on July 9, 2010 and is now fully operational.  I was personally involved as the industry representative in providing input into this rule when FDA first proposed it during the Clinton Administration.  The rule provided guidance on recordkeeping for (1) biosecurity (2) monitoring for flies and other vectors that may spread Salmonella, and (3) acceptable manure removal.  After a lifetime in the egg industry, and after personally visiting egg farmers on six continents, I was able to see the production practices in comparison to Iowa egg farmers.  The board should boast of the egg farmers accomplishments rather than label the egg farmers as complicit with that father and son who were recently prosecuted for circumventing the rule.  FDA has detailed in the rule procedures for a clean environment for the chickens.  FDA has detailed in the rule how to monitor the environment to determine if the cleaning protocols are being followed.  The sampling and testing procedures are thoroughly recorded for federal inspector oversight of the entire farm.  The rule cites the scientific articles that substantiate the protocols established for Iowa egg farmers.  So, instead of using one farmer to discredit an entire industry, this board should investigate the accomplishments of the Iowa egg farmers and assure consumers nationwide that Iowa egg farmers today are world leaders in producing a safe and wholesome egg.

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