Iowa Turkey Federation President Says Bird Flu Strain Tougher Than 2015’s

Statewide Iowa — Iowa Turkey Federation president Brad Moline says the variant of bird flu that’s circulating in the US appears tougher than the one that hit the poultry industry in 2015 — but he says stepped up biosecurity at poultry operations is preventing the virus from spreading like it did six years ago.

The outbreak, though, has not impacted the supply of turkeys for this Thanksgiving. More turkeys were raised in the U-S this year than in 2021. The price of Thanksgiving turkey is down more than five-and-a-half percent from last year according to the Farm Bureau. If the outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza continues, though, the price and availability of turkey may be impacted in the new year. There are at least 30 outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza in 16 states right now.

Moline’s turkey operation is near Manson, on the border of Calhoun and Pocahontas counties and it had a bird flu outbreak in 2015. Moline says state and federal government officials have eliminated red tape and there’s a speedier process of euthanizing infected birds now.

Wild birds like geese are thought to be major spreaders of the virus to confinements and backyard flocks. However, the number of avian influenza cases in the wild bird population appears to be dropping according to the USDA. It could be a sign wild birds are developing immunity to the virus and may be contributing to a reduction in bird flu cases this year.



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