Lawmakers Urge USDA To Tap Into Other Resources To Fight Bird Flu

WASHINGTON – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack should tap into funds used for other projects at his department to help mitigate the spread of bird flu and limit the economic damage the deadly virus has had on poultry farms that have been infected with the disease, lawmakers said Wednesday.

The top Republican and Democrat on both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees said the additional resources are urgently needed to combat the virus, which has spread throughout much of the Midwest, including Iowa and South Dakota. The virus can kill a poultry flock within 48 hours.

In a letter to Vilsack, the lawmakers urged him to utilize his emergency authority and transfer funds from his Commodity Credit Corporation — the agency that stabilizes, supports and protects farm income and prices — to its Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, which is fighting the avian influenza disease.

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