Ag Policy Blog

Iowa Farm Bureau Looks at Costs of Avian Influenza

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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Iowa Farm Bureau issued study results Monday showing avian influenza is costing Iowa's economy nearly 8,500 jobs and $425 million in lost economic value to the state.

Iowa had 77 farms hit by H5N2 highly-pathogenic avian influenza, which led to euthanizing 34 million birds. Iowa and Minnesota were the two states with major poultry industries hit hardest by what USDA considers the largest foreign animal-disease oubreak in the country's history.

Farm Bureau noted that job losses, the H5N2 outbreak led to about $425 million in lost additional value in terms of income and farm revenue. Farm Bureau said the ripple effects of the lost jobs and value could impact the state for as much as three years.

"It’s really astounding that we could lose half of our poultry flock in a couple of months,” said David Miller, director of research and commodity services at the Iowa Farm Bureau.

Egg prices are likely to peak, but they will remain higher for at least 12 months as egg producers try to rebuild their egg-laying operations.

Iowa Farm Bureau noted a variety of businesses were affected that service the egg farms in different ways. Moreover, a lot of workers looked for jobs elsewhere. Thus, it may be difficult to replace those workers.

Reuters reported Monday that egg and poultry producers will continue facing problems recovering from the flu's impact this spring. The result is that egg prices will remain high and turkeys will be as much as 19% higher this Thanksgiving. http://www.reuters.com/…

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