One Quarter of Iowa Layers Hit with HPAI

Cindy ZimmermanAnimal Health, Audio, avian flu, Disease, Eggs, Government, Poultry, Turkey

branstad-hpai*UPDATE* Iowa Governor declares state of emergency late Friday as four more probable cases of HPAI announced. New audio added below.

Another five probable cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) were reported Thursday in Iowa commercial poultry operations, including an estimated 5.5 million on one farm.

“A week ago our announcement was 3.8 million layers, I believe we’re north of 15 million layers right now,” said Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey. “That 15 million layers would be about one-fourth of Iowa’s layers.”

Iowa is the largest egg producing state in the country and Northey says the number of layers infected so far is “probably five or six percent of the layers in the United States” which means there will likely be an impact on supply and prices. Iowa Ag Secretary Bill Northey comments on impact of new HPAI cases

ai-updateWith the latest notifications, Iowa Poultry Association Executive Director Randy Olson says this remains a serious and urgent situation for the poultry industry. “With the announcements in the last 7-10 days there’s been a shock to the supply chain that’s being worked through,” he said.

With millions of birds having to be destroyed, the livelihoods of poultry producers are at stake and Northey says indemnity payments from the federal government only makes up for part of the loss. “They are to pay for part of the cost for putting those birds down, but not for any lost income,” said Northey. “Our hearts go out to the folks that are going through this.” Iowa Ag Secretary Bill Northey comments on indemnity payments

Another three new presumptive cases were also reported this week in commercial turkey flocks in Minnesota, bringing the total number of birds infected in the largest turkey producing state to around 4 million, including 70 farms in almost 20 counties.

*UPDATE – 5/1/15*

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad declared a state of emergency Friday in Iowa after four new probable cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) were detected in his state, bringing the total now to 21 farms involving over 16 million birds.

Listen to press conference here: Iowa Gov declares state of emergency due to HPAI