The leader of the Iowa Poultry Association says he’s keeping close tabs on federal lawmakers as they threaten spending cuts to the USDA. One proposal being considered would cut a half-billion dollars, which could include funding for fighting avian influenza.
Association executive director Randy Olson says he hopes Congress will provide the needed help to continue battling bird flu in Iowa and elsewhere.
“There’ll be a lot of discussion and posturing about budgets at the federal level, as there always is,” Olson says. “We certainly hope that the federal government and state governments will stick by the task of moving forward with avian influenza cleanup and making sure these farmers can get back on their feet as soon as possible.”
Iowa is the nation’s number-one egg producer. At least 77 poultry operations in 18 Iowa counties have had to euthanize entire flocks due to outbreaks. More than 31-million birds were destroyed.
Olson says Iowa’s congressional delegation and Governor Branstad have been very supportive of the state’s poultry industry in dealing with bird flu.
“There’s no question that everybody realizes the severity of this crisis in poultry and egg communities,” Olson says. “We’re hopeful we’ll be able to get through this challenging time as quickly as possible.”
Iowa officials are waiting on the feds after Governor Branstad requested a disaster declaration in four particularly hard hit counties due to the highly-pathogenic avian influenza.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton