Northwest Iowa — Even before the recent avian influenza outbreak in Indiana, the U-S-D-A began stockpiling up to 500-million doses of a new vaccine for bird flu. Some northwest Iowa poultry producers, along with industry officials, oppose vaccinating because of export market consequences.
Randy Olson, Executive Director of the Iowa Poultry Association, says even with those concerns, it’s good to have that supply of vaccine if it’s needed.
He says the biggest concern about vaccinating is with potential trade partners.
Olson says instead of relying on vaccine, Iowa’s poultry producers are ramping up their biosecurity efforts to prevent the disease from reoccurring in the spring.
A total of 77 poultry operations statewide, including some here in our area, had bird flu outbreaks last year and more than 31-million chickens and turkeys were wiped out, making Iowa by far the worst-hit state. Losses in Iowa are estimated near one-billion dollars. Operations in 14 other states were also infected, claiming 50-million birds and more than three-billion dollars.