USDA expects to pay farmers $191 million for bird flu losses - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

USDA expects to pay farmers $191 million for bird flu losses

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- The federal government expects to spend $191 million to pay chicken and turkey farmers for birds lost to avian flu.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack says that's in addition to the nearly $400 million spent on cleaning up dead birds and disinfecting barns. The government also is paying to research and stockpile a bird flu vaccine.

Vilsack spoke Tuesday at a bird flu conference in Des Moines where the poultry industry is talking about how to better respond if the disease returns.

Hardest hit by the outbreak this spring were Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska.

Vilsack says the USDA is preparing for recurrence of the virus spread by wild migrating birds and plans to ask Congress to consider a poultry disaster program similar to one that exists for livestock producers.

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