In 2015, one of the worst animal health disasters in history swept the nation. A strain of Avian Influenza led to the deaths of nearly half of Iowa's egg laying chickens and millions of other poultry.
The response team for Iowa's Department of Agriculture had to deal with a way to dispose of 35 million dead birds, including a quarter of turkeys, affecting 70 producers, and involving 1,700 permits to move around products.
Last week at the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, the Iowa team received the James A. Graham Award for Outstanding Service.
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey nominated the team, saying staff in his department stepped up to respond to the outbreak and other states noticed.
Northey says, "Several made the point that after that event that as they had concerns about how they might set up and respond that they had reached out to our folks and said, what did you learn? What lessons can we take away? And in fact we did have a couple other stats that did have to go through that."
Northey says Indiana was one that reached out to Iowa staff to help them deal with the epidemic.
Iowa poultry is back in business, Northey adds, in some cases the supply came back so fast the prices on eggs and turkeys are down.