It’s a good day when the Iowa Department of Agriculture has no new cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) to report and there were two such days last week. However, Iowa still far outpaces any other state in the number of birds impacted at over 30 million, including close to half the laying hens in the state according to Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig.
“It is a significant economic impact to the state,” said Haig during an interview last week, noting that it goes beyond the poultry producers themselves. “All of the support network around them, input suppliers, feed – that has an immediate impact.” Naig adds that as production is impacted, there will be an impact on consumer prices.
Iowa State University Extension Ag Economist Chad Hart says northwest Iowa has been hardest hit and the impact to Iowa’s egg industry goes beyond the state. “We’re looking at the loss of jobs for a while, it’s going to take a lot of time to recover,” said Hart. “Iowa is the number one (egg) producer in the country and when you take Iowa off the market it does have a ripple effect.”
Minnesota has the most cases of HPAI confirmed, the vast majority on turkey farms and Minnesota Turkey Growers Association executive director Steve Olson some there is some concern starting to surface about meeting the demand for the biggest turkey season of the year. “Nationwide I think the supply will be there,” said Olson. “We are concerned on the local level that some of the farmers in Minnesota who raise turkeys for Thanksgiving are able to repopulate.”
Olson says the earliest sites with confirmed HPAI cases are in the final cleaning stage but still a couple weeks away from being able to repopulate.