newssen warner joins lawmakers in usda push to alleviate avian flu outbreaks with federal funding

Sen. Warner joins lawmakers in USDA push to alleviate avian flu outbreaks with federal funding

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USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed 745 flocks in 47 states, including Virginia, with avian flu as of Jan. 31, 2023.

Directly contributing to rising egg prices across the United States, 58 million birds are infected.

Congress signed the Fiscal Year 2023 Omnibus Appropriations Act in late 2022, which provides an increase in annual funding to address the avian influenza outbreak, including more than $64 million for improving avian health and updated guidance on proactively mitigating spread of disease.

Earlier this week, Sen. Mark R. Warner of Virginia joined Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and a bipartisan group of lawmakers in a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack. The letter encourages the APHIS to take swift action to address the avian influenza outbreak by disseminating funds provided by the Fiscal Year 2023 Agriculture Appropriations bill.

“This unprecedented outbreak, which has been on-going since February 2022, is devastating poultry flocks across the country and contributing to an increase in poultry and egg prices for consumers,” the letter states. “We acknowledge APHIS’s current efforts to address the spread of the disease. However, it is imperative the agency quickly deploy additional resources and work with the states in improving biosecurity measures within the avian supply chain, including the disinfection of sites and the testing and quarantining of affected flocks.”

The letter requests the agency “expeditiously utilize the increase in annual funding provided by Congress for activities to prevent further spread of the avian influenza and to mitigate the impact this historic wave of disease has had on our states’ farmers and consumers.”

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.