At least two dozen states are seeing cases of the bird flu virus. State and federal officials say nearly a dozen Iowa counties have seen outbreaks on farms. These include commercial breeding chickens in Humboldt County and commercial pullet chickens in Franklin County. The outbreak in Franklin County was reported on March 25th while the cases in Humboldt County were reported on April 2nd.
Celize Christy, beginning farmer education coordinator for Practical Farmers of Iowa, which educates producers on making their land more resilient, said while an outbreak within a smaller flock might not have the same ripple effect as a larger farm, it still poses challenges.
Ag experts confirmed the virus has led to higher prices for products such as eggs. Christy noted for smaller producers, there is a potential effect on what they sell at places such as farmer’s markets.
Nationally, other groups cite the impact of corporate farms and the need to limit concentrated animal feeding operations. Industry leaders insist large facilities are well-shielded from wild birds carrying the virus.
Department of Natural Resources officials in affected states pointed out the spread is linked to wild birds, such as ducks and geese.
Patty Lovera, policy adviser at the Campaign for Family Farms and the Environment, said the nation has become too reliant on factory farms, which can be all it takes is for a virus to slip through and wreak havoc.
Christy added while producers in Iowa with smaller flocks might be more susceptible to an outbreak, they are taking the threat seriously.