Billy Northey Says Iowa Turkey Farms Could See New Live Birds Within a Month

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Iowa Secretary of Agriculture and Land Stewardship Bill Northey (Roger Riley WHO-HD)
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture and Land Stewardship Bill Northey (Roger Riley WHO-HD)

DES MOINES, Iowa — Turkey farms struck by the avian influenza could be getting new live birds within a month or so, according to Iowa Secretary of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Bill Northey.

Northey said all the infected birds have now been put down, and disposed of.  He said 20 farms are working with contractors to disinfect their barns, several other farmers are doing the work themselves.

“We’re pleased, I think within a month here some turkeys will be back in some of the barns,” said Northey. “The layer operations could be another month to month and a half out from that.” He added that some operations will take longer to re-open.

It has now been around three weeks since the last case of avian influenza was reported int he state. Northey said the USDA has called  this event, “the largest animal health emergency this country has ever faced.”

Working with the USDA Iowa officials have worked on new cleaning methods, new disinfecting methods.

“We’re giving options to producers so they can get back up and going again,” said Northey.  He said a few producers won’t re-open, mainly those nearing retirement.  Most are asking, when can they start again.

“Farmers are optimistic, they have bad years, nobody has had a situation like this that our egg and our turkey folks have had to go through,” said Northey.

On Tuesday afternoon at 2 p.m., the US Senate Committee on Agriculture Nutrition, and Forestry will be conducting a hearing on the avian influenza outbreak. One of the speakers will be Manson area turkey farmer Brad Moline, of Moline Farms.  That family operation has been in business for over 90 years.


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