The National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP) has been around since the early 1930’s. The NPIP was developed to provide a cooperative industry, state, and federal program through which new diagnostic technology can be effectively applied to the improvement of poultry and poultry products throughout the country. The development of the NPIP was initiated to eliminate Pullorum Disease caused by Salmonella pullorum and has expanded to cover diseases like New Castle Disease, Avian Influenza and more. Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) serves as the administrative lead for NPIP in the State of Florida.
Recently announced, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is updating the NPIP guidelines to align with changes in the poultry industry and to incorporate new scientific information and technologies into the NPIP. These updates are consistent with the recommendations approved by representatives from across the poultry industry at the 2018 NPIP Biennial Conference.
In brief, these changes by APHIS include:
- creating a new U.S. Newcastle Disease (ND) Clean program.
- updating low pathogenic avian influenza regulations on indemnity and compensation.
- creating an NPIP subpart specific to the game bird industry; and
- clarifying and updating the program regulations to match current scientific information and technologies.
For a more detailed explanation of the changes, check out the press release: USDA Updates the National Poultry Improvement Plan
It should come as no surprise that there are associated risks with livestock production, even down the smallest backyard flocks. Poultry are in constant contact with the outside world and their desire to scratch and peck the ground exposes them to numerous biological pathogens. Becoming NPIP certified is one practice that ensures that your poultry operation upholds the highest standards for raising disease free poultry. It’s also important if your operation imports or exports poultry in Florida. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) provides information on poultry movement requirements both within the state as well as across state line through their website.
Additional standard biosecurity practices within a flock should become normal practice for poultry owners and can be easily implemented. Some steps you can take to best secure the health of your flock include:
- Washing, rinsing and disinfecting feeders and waterers every week to 10 days. More often if heavily used.
- Quarantine any birds that appear to have even slight to moderate symptoms of abnormalities
- Implement a pest control program, this should include rodents, insects and snakes.
- Secure your poultry from natural predators, this may include family pets like a dog or cat
- Limit the number of people who encounter your poultry, especially family or friends who own flocks
- Ensure you are acquiring birds from reputable sources. Most commercial hatcheries have stringent biosecurity measures at their facilities.
- Quarantine any new birds you introduce to the flock for at least 14-21 days.
- Washing hands before and after handling of birds. A disinfectant by the coop can be handy as well.
To enroll your flock in the Poultry Improvement Plan in Florida, contact Dr. Daniel Wolf at (352) 745-2544 or PoultryPrograms@FDACS.gov. A local agent with the Division of Animal Industry will make a scheduled site visit to your farm to perform tests on your flock to test for the presence of any restricted diseases. Once the lab analysis has been performed, you will receive your NPIP certificate and number to display. There is no fee for NPIP certification, but you must contact FDACS to schedule a site visit.