Third Ont. farm with avian flu cleared of birds

Updated, April 29, 2015 — Ontario is urging poultry farmers to look into the AgriStability income stabilization plan, after the province’s third poultry farm to catch H5N2 avian flu this month has put down all its turkeys.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency confirmed Monday that “humane depopulation” has already been completed at the Bright, Ont. turkey farm, confirmed last Thursday with H5 avian flu.

Following further tests at CFIA’s national lab in Winnipeg, the Oxford County farm was confirmed Friday to have highly pathogenic (“high-path”) H5N2 avian flu, CFIA said on its website.

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In its report Tuesday to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), CFIA pegged the number of turkeys on the farm at 7,925, noting just five of the birds in one of the farm’s four barns had died of the flu.

Agricorp, the province’s farm program delivery agency, on Tuesday urged poultry producers to “think about how AgriStability can help them manage their 2015 farm risk,” especially given the recent avian flu cases.

Producers who miss the April 30 application deadline for this program year should still contact Agricorp “right away” to discuss their options, the agency said.

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AgriStability, the income stabilization plan backed by the federal/provincial Growing Forward 2 (GF2) farm policy funding framework, is meant to help offset drastic declines in a farm’s net farming income.

Program changes in 2013 have allowed farms in supply-managed commodities to get the same coverage available to non-supply-managed farms through AgriStability, Agricorp noted Tuesday.

The program kicks in if an applicant’s net farm income falls below the “disaster threshold” of 70 per cent of the farm’s recent average.

Producers in “financial distress” can also apply for advances on estimated AgriStability payments to help with cash flow, the agency said.

Agricorp urged Ontario farmers with questions to either visit the agency website or call 1-888-247-4999.

Agricorp cautioned earlier this month that it’s having “technical difficulties” with its call centre phone system, but “interim fixes” are in place and the phone system is “currently working.”

That said, the agency is in the midst of installing a new phone system, expected to be “fully in place” by early June. — Network


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