The National Chicken Council this week provided comments to USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) on its proposed rule about indemnity regulations.

NCC expressed its appreciation for the agency’s new approach to harmonize how they determine animal values and deal with costs associated with transportation, cleaning, and disposal, as well as the comments pertaining to the difficulty associated with in-person appraisals for fast-moving diseases such as highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). However, NCC is concerned with the statement that “harmonizing across all diseases will likely increase APHIS’ costs and potentially lower the available funds for indemnifying animals.”

“This proposed rule should not come at the cost of indemnification,” said NCC Senior Vice President of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs, Ashley Peterson, Ph.D., in the comments. “The availability of indemnification for foreign animal diseases such as HPAI sets the U.S. apart from many other countries and aids in the prompt reporting and subsequent elimination of the virus.”

Peterson also suggested additional areas where the proposed rule could be improved, including:

  • Indemnification rates being based on current market conditions and that they reflect, in near real-time, input costs such as feed, fuel, etc. These rates should also consider how broilers are raised and reflect the variation in input costs accordingly;
  • Adding additional indemnification values for pullet chicks, broiler breeders, or any pedigree birds;
  • Including an annual reassessment of indemnification values as input costs and markets are not static; and
  • Encouraging transparency in the calculations used to determine indemnification values.

“We believe that this topic is very timely given the ongoing outbreak of HPAI in the United States that continues to impact the entire poultry sector,” Peterson added. “We want to express our gratitude for the leadership of those dedicated individuals within APHIS that continue to assist the industry through these challenging times.”

NCC’s comments can be found here. USDA’s proposed rule can be found here.