Is there a need for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) insurance for catastrophic poultry diseases? Poultry and egg producers will have the opportunity to discuss ways to manage the economic risk potentially caused by catastrophic diseases in a "listening session" to be held during the 2015 International Production and Processing Expo (IPPE) at the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) in Atlanta.

The listening session, part of a study being conducted for USDA's Risk Management Agency, will take place as part of IPPE's International Poultry Expo, Monday, January 26 from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., in GWCC room 410A.

Andy Rhorer, Global Poultry Improvement LLC, who is the poultry industry expert working on the study, said the purpose is to evaluate how to manage the economic risk that catastrophic diseases might cause for small, independent poultry and egg producers. The insurance program under consideration, he said, would be for those producers who sell to niche markets and who own their own birds.

Listening session to focus on small poultry producers

“The listening session is to better understand the kind of disease risks the small poultry or egg producers face on a daily basis,” Rhorer said.

Information is being sought in the listening session about the following points:


  • Level of concern associated with catastrophic diseases in the poultry industry
  • Risk management techniques related to diseases
  • Insurable interest (share of risk) held by integrators and growers
  • Stakeholder views about the current programs to assist with the costs associated with depopulation, cleaning, disinfection and heightened surveillance procedures

Benefits for small and large producers

Rhorer told WATT Global Media that he is hopeful the study will provide USDA with the necessary information to subsidize the implementation of an insurance program compliant with the crop insurance statutes. He envisions a program that would act as an economic buffer for small producers when dealing with catastrophic diseases, but at the same time, it would help the primary poultry breeders and the integrated industry by requiring minimal disease prevention and bio-security measures for the participating small poultry producers.

The insurance program study is being conducted under the provision of the Agricultural Act of 2014 in an amendment to Section 522(c) of the Federal Crop Insurance Act, which directs the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) to contract for “a study to determine the feasibility of insuring poultry producers for a catastrophic event.” Rhorer is working with Watts and Associates Inc., a consulting firm based in Billings, Montana, which has a contract with FCIC to conduct the study. Watts and Associates will be responsible for the study’s report.

More listening sessions in Minnesota, Pennsylvania and California 

Other listening sessions are scheduled at various times and locations for February 2015:

  • February 3: 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the St. Cloud Holiday Inn & Suites, 75 37th Avenue South, St. Cloud, Minnesota 56301, in the St. Cloud Room.
  • February 10: 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., at the Stanislaus County Harvest Hall, 3800 Cornucopia Way, Modesto, California 95358, in Rooms A, B and C.
  • February 12: 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Farm & Home Foundation of Lancaster County, 1383 Arcadia Road, Lancaster, Pennsylvania 17601, in the Pennfield Multi-Purpose Room

Additional listening sessions are to be held in Buffalo, Minnesota, during the board meetings of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association and the Chicken & Egg Association of Minnesota at times to be determined.

Rhorer can be contacted by email for more information