Subsidy of the day: Avian Influenza Indemnity Program

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The Department of Agriculture’s Office of Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has created a subsidy program that reimburses qualifying applicants for damages inflicted on certain types of livestock due to disease. According to officials, in fiscal year 2007 the federal government spent $1,248,181 on this program, though the Web site currently shows that it spent $0.

These diseases include—but aren’t limited to—foot-and-mouth disease; pleuropneumonia; rinderpest; exotic Newcastle disease; bird flu; infectious salmon anemia and any other communicable diseases the Secretary of Agriculture deems threatening to U.S. livestock or poultry.

Should U.S. poultry farmers lose poultry, poultry semen or eggs, farmers will be able to command the fair-market price of the products… if, of course, they inform the department of the amount of semen lost, the number of eggs that were compromised and so forth and so on. And they must be sure to keep those financial records!

I wonder what poultry semen goes for these days…

According to the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance online, the application process is “non-competitive.” That’s not surprising considering diseases like infectious salmon anemia (aka lethargic fish) are more prevalent outside the United States.

Why are we spending overhead money on a program that serves no great need?

And why are we reimbursing farmers for a loss that no one in particular is responsible for? This is some fishy busines. 


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Carolyn Bolton

Carolyn Bolton

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