Expert: Iowa is Better Prepared for ‘Worst animal health emergencies in national history’

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More than 30 million chickens and turkeys had to be destroyed due to the avian flu last year. For the most part, the avian flu has disappeared. Bird production is back up and egg prices are back down.

Katie Nola is the Director of Consumer Affairs for the Iowa Egg Council and Iowa Poultry Association. In honor of May being National Egg Month, she says we’re better off because of last year’s outbreak.

“We’re better prepared because we went one of the worst animal health emergencies in national history. Unfortunately, we had to learn the hard way. As a result, our biosecurity is very tight. We have all the procedures in place for what to do in case something like this happens again,” she said.

Nola said the worst part of the avian flu was the initial shock and having to depopulate a flock within a matter of hours.

“That’s people’s livelihood,” she said. “It affects the whole state of Iowa, not just egg producers. People have to look at is as a trickle-down effect.”

The price of a carton of eggs surged after the outbreak.

Before the outbreak, eggs were about $1.10/dozen. In August 2015, prices jumped to $2.70/dozen. Now, eggs are even cheaper than before the outbreak at $0.65/dozen.

Nola said it was originally thought that we would be back at full capacity by mid-2017. But now, we’re almost back to full capacity.

Nola also talks about the trends of egg buying.

A decade ago, the trend was organic eggs. Today, it’s “cage-free” that’s catching the eyes of egg buyers. These trends could hurt egg producers, especially those who mass produce.

Watch the above segment of the Insiders for her full take on egg trends.

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The Insiders with Dave Price features in-depth conversations with top politicians, decision makers and influencers from Iowa and across the country. It's Iowa’s Sunday morning tradition that provides unique insight into what's happening, and it's the show that holds elected officials accountable.

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