Four brown chickens with red crops walking around in a barn.

Register for Indemnity Before a Livestock or Poultry Disease Disaster Strikes

Keeley ParishLivestock diseases, Planning

During the 2015 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreak in the United States, over 50 million chickens died. This led to a 12 percent drop in the egg layer market, severely impacting revenue across the U.S. (Chappell, 2022). HPAI, which is often referred to as “bird flu,” struck again in February 2022 and 57 million birds (APHIS, 2023) have died in this latest outbreak. The high death rate reflects a primary control measure where all poultry on a premises are “depopulated,” or destroyed, if HPAI is present on a farm. These occurrences of HPAI have severely impacted the livelihoods of producers across the U.S.

Foreign Animal Disease Threats

HPAI is considered a foreign animal disease (FAD), which is a classification of livestock and poultry diseases that are generally not known to exist in the United States. These diseases are highly transmissible (infectious) and can have significant economic or health impacts where outbreaks occur. 

Another FAD called African swine fever (ASF) is putting U.S. pork producers on high alert. This disease has spread across Asia, parts of Europe, and recently reached the Dominican Republic and Haiti on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. If ASF is detected on any U.S. farms, all infected pigs will be depopulated (ASF, 2022).

Register for Indemnity

If animals are depopulated for disease control, the U.S. government will offer compensation for the value of the animals and for disease elimination. To receive compensation, an “entity” needs register in the System for Award Management (SAM) (ASF, 2022), to get a unique entity identifier (UEI). An entity is defined as an individual or business that is applying to receive financial benefits from the government (Entity Information).

In April 2022, the federal government changed the entity identifier from DUNS (Data Universal Numbering System) to UEI. (DUNS to Unique Entity, The UEI numbers are generated by SAM, so registration can be completed in one place. There is no fee to register, and the number is never deleted. The registration must be renewed yearly.

Act Now

Owners of poultry and swine threatened by FADs like HPAI and ASF should consider registering in SAM proactively. In an FAD outbreak, farmers without a UEI will face delays in their eligibility to collect any benefits. However, those prepared with a UEI will more quickly receive payment from the government.


African Swine Fever (ASF). (2022, August 31). USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Retrieved February 21, 2023, from 

African Swine Fever: A Producer’s Guide to the Federal Emergency Response Process. (2021, August). USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Retrieved February 21, 2023, from

APHIS Celebrates 2022 Accomplishments. (2023, Feb. 3). USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Retrieved February 21, 2023, from

Chappell, B. (2022, December 2). What we know about the deadliest U.S. bird flu outbreak in history. National Public Radio.

Do I have to re-register my entity or update my entity to get a Unique Entity ID? (2023, April 10). Federal Service Desk. Retrieved February 21, 2023, from

DUNS to Unique Entity ID (SAM) Transition. (n.d.).

Entity Information. (n.d.).

How can I view my Unique Entity ID? (2023, March). Federal Service Desk. Retrieved February 21, 2023, from 

Unique Entity Identifier Update. (2023, April 19). U.S. General Services Administration. Retrieved February 20, 2023, from

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About the Author

Keeley Parish

Keeley Parish is an undergraduate student at the University of Vermont, studying for a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science. She is on a pre-veterinary track and will later apply to veterinary school. After working with horses for several years and then for an animal sanctuary, she decided to pursue large animal medicine. In her free time, Parish can be found exploring the Burlington area and playing rugby for the UVM women’s team.

About the Editor

Joanna Cummings

Joanna Cummings received a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture from The Pennsylvania State University (PSU), with a specialization in vegetable crop and greenhouse production. At PSU, she was a research technician on no-tillage vegetable crop experiments, and a greenhouse assistant in the All-American Selections Research Gardens. Her career in the agriculture industry includes field research, work with dairy and vegetable farms, and as a greenhouse manager, estate gardener, landscaping and market garden entrepreneur. She transitioned to the science communication field after receiving a master of science degree in environmental communications from Antioch University New England. At Antioch, Joanna was a field botany laboratory teaching assistant, manager of the herbarium, and editor of the department's student newsletter, Notes and Niches. She currently works with Research Professor Julie M. Smith as a communications professional in the University of Vermont Animal and Veterinary Sciences Department. She is the webmaster for the Healthy Farms Healthy Agriculture website.