Between the HPAI outbreak in the dairy herd, the rapidly approaching farm bill deadline and western drought, legislators are keeping busy.

HPAI updates:
The USDA issued new guidance detailing testing and restrictions on the movement of dairy cows that have already been put into effect. In addition, the CDC wants to deploy federal response teams to farms across the country to survey dairy cow and farmworker health.

Legislators are looking at ways to mitigate the financial impact on dairy farmers. Congress will likely tackle this in the upcoming FY 2025 spending talks. The USDA can also tap internal funding for new emergency spending on testing.

Farm Bill:
The House Farm Bill draft is set to boost animal disease detection and associated response programs but doesn’t specifically target HPAI. However, the standoff on the farm bill continues, with G.T. Thompson set to unveil the draft in the latter half of May. Pressure from ag commodity groups could prove pivotal.

Drought Conditions:
The drought in the western U.S. is also drawing the attention of key legislators. Thirty lawmakers have urged the USDA to invest more in drought relief. The group requests additional resources for water forecasting, water conservation and watershed restoration under the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Forest Service.

Read more on the latest legislative efforts here.