State and local officials are holding a news conference this morning near Manson at the first turkey farm to get back into operation after the bird flu outbreak. A little more than 1.1 million turkeys were destroyed in Iowa after the outbreak. There has been a lot speculation about the impact of the bird flu on the availability of turkeys this Thanksgiving.
Gretta Irwin with the Iowa Turkey Federation says she doesn’t expect any impact. “Here in Iowa, all the turkeys we raise are further processed — meaning they go into deli meats for Subway or Jimmy Johns or into the deli cases at our grocery stores. So, these birds never would have gone into producing Thanksgiving birds anyway,” Irwin explains. So, I do not anticipate that there will be a shortage of turkeys.”
Irwin says producers outside Iowa are working to get birds ready for the holiday.”Turkeys for Thanksgiving are being raised right now, so they would not be impacted by the High Place A-I virus,” Irwin says.
There will be no bird displays at the Iowa State Fair when it opens later this week. Irwin says the Turkey Federation doesn’t plan any special displays. “We are not doing anything specifically related to high path avian influenza, but we sure encourage people to stop by our turkey stand west of the Bill Riley stage and enjoy some wonderful Iowa turkey in supporting our turkey industry and our turkey farmers who have really had a tough year this year,” Irwin says.
The state has some 130 turkey farms and 35 were infected with the avian flu.