A turkey producer who’s the first in Iowa to restock after bird flu struck this spring says his operation had some advantages. Brad Moline of Manson says his operation was hit later in the outbreak, once officials had procedures in place for ridding barns of the infected birds.
“We weren’t forced to be delayed by any reason from the U.S. government or the Iowa government,” Moline says. “The second thing is we have a unique advantage on this farm, and probably the most important reason, is on this farm we do all of our own work.”
Moline says he had the equipment and personnel needed to get the barns cleaned and disinfected quickly.
Federal officials say they expect most farms throughout the hardest-hit states of Iowa, Nebraska and Minnesota to be back in business by the fall. Jack Shere, a veterinarian who is an administrator in the USDA, admits some mistakes were made at the on-set of the outbreak, but he says the important thing is to use that experience to prepare for the future.
“We know that this disease is devastating,” Shere says. “We know that the faster we can go in and euthanize those birds, the less spread we’ll have. We know that the better biosurveillance and testing that we have, the quicker that we’ll get in there, eliminate the birds and prevent spread.”
Shere says the USDA has developed a response plan in the event the flu comes back this fall and he expects the plan to be approved and made public soon. Shere and Moline made their comments Monday during a news conference held on Moline’s farm near Manson.
Officials say 1.1 million turkeys were killed in Iowa by the bird flu outbreak.
(Reporting in Manson by Amy Mayer, Iowa Public Radio; additional reporting by Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson)