Disease outbreaks in our food sources can have far-reaching and devastating consequences. To help eliminate diseases from poultry products, the federal government established the National Poultry Improvement Plan, or NPIP. Certification is voluntary and shows that poultry owners have taken the steps to protect their flocks.
Find a Provider
The federal government oversees the NPIP, but a state-level agency administers the certification program for each individual state. The agency that runs the NPIP certification is typically that state’s Department of Agriculture or a division of it. The NPIP website provides a full list of each state’s official NPIP coordinating agency and contact information. Once the poultry owner finds his state’s agency, he can determine what subpart he fits under for certification. NPIP utilizes six non-commercial subparts and four commercial subparts. Subparts describe the different types of poultry, such as chicken or waterfowl, and how they will be used, such as for commercial or private use.
Apply for Certification
The NPIP agency in each state typically has the poultry owner submit an application. The agency then performs an initial inspection of the owner’s property. The inspection checks to see that the property has all the proper equipment and facilities for raising healthy poultry. After inspections, the owner signs an agreement with that state’s agency, pays the appropriate fees and receives certification. The amount of certification fees varies greatly from state to state and depends on the owner’s certification subpart. Some states do not charge anything to participate in the program.
Perform Initial Testing
Most state NPIP agencies require the poultry owner to go through an initial testing process for Salmonella pullorum-typhoid. Owners can also test for mycoplasma and avian flu, though those tests are not mandatory. Many agencies perform this initial test during the inspection. The number of birds tested during the initial test, and each yearly test, vary from state to state. In Illinois, for example, the maximum number of birds that owners must test is 300. In Idaho, if a flock has fewer than 300 birds, all birds must be tested. Flocks larger than 300 only need 300 birds tested. To pass and earn NPIP certification, a flock must be free of the tested diseases.
Submit to Yearly Testing
Earning certification means the owner agrees to yearly testing and monitoring for various poultry diseases, including Salmonella, mycoplasma and avian influenza. Depending on the state, poultry owners may have to do the testing themselves or the agency may perform the tests. In Idaho, for example, NPIP certified poultry owners must order testing equipment and receive training on the equipment before officially receiving certification. Some states allow individuals to go through training to become testers and provide their private testing services to poultry owners.