Once-off support formally announced for bird flu stricken flocks

A once-off financial support scheme for a number of poultry flocks impacted by an outbreak of low pathogenic avian influenza this year has been formally announced by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Barry Cowen.

This particular strain of avian influenza has no food safety implications, but does impact on flock productivity, according to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The scheme had been revealed by the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) last week, which outlined that the scheme will apply to 14 flock owners who suffered total flock loss due to bird flu in the past four months.

Commenting, Minister Cowen said:

I want to acknowledge that the flock owners in question have taken the correct action in depopulating their flocks for the greater good of the sector.

“In light of the significant economic impact this has had on their business, I am pleased to be able to provide some assistance towards the costs of depopulation which they have incurred,” the minister added.

The affected flock owners will receive details of the scheme including terms and conditions in the coming days, according to the department.

Looking forward, the Department of Agriculture said it is also “engaging with representatives of the sector with a view to encouraging the industry to put in place risk management measures for the future”.

This assistance will be provided by the department under ‘agriculture de minimis’ state aid rules.

According to the IFA last week, under the scheme, a payment of €20,000 will be made available to all successful applicants to the scheme, totalling €280,000.