North Iowa poultry farmers remember the outbreak of 2015. Millions of chickens in Wright County and surrounding areas were destroyed in order to prevent the spread of the disease. Secondary roads were closed by Hancock and Wright County Supervisors and road departments. Poultry farmers took exceptional hits in profits and had to rebuild their poultry stocks.
Those same poultry producers are on-guard as more than 73-thousand chickens were destroyed since the weekend outbreak of highly-pathogenic avian influenza at a Tennessee farm. Thirty other farms nearby are quarantined. Kevin Stiles, executive director of the Iowa Poultry and Egg Association, says the Tennessee outbreak is a worry here, as Iowa dealt with a major outbreak in 2015.
A bird flu issue was also reported in Colorado leading to the destruction of birds there. Another bird flu outbreak is reported in a Wisconsin turkey farm but it is not the highly-pathogenic variety. As there outbreaks occur, area poultry farmers continue to monitor their flocks for possible signs of the flu and they are not alone. Stiles says all of Iowa’s producers tightened biosecurity following the epidemic here two years ago and are just now recovering lost ground.
Stiles says the U-S-D-A and Tennessee agriculture department officials have responded well to the outbreak.
Tennessee officials have declined to name the breeder and would only say the farm is in the state’s Lincoln County, west of Chattanooga. During the 2015 bird flu outbreak, cases were confirmed at 77 Iowa poultry operations in 18 counties. It resulted in the destruction of more than 31-million birds and an economic loss to the state of $1.2 billion dollars.