MANSON, Iowa -- An Iowa turkey farm has reopened after Avian influenza. The Brad Moline family farm near Manson was restocked with turkeys on July 31. The six barns have 28,800 brooder poults, which are up to five weeks old, and 14,400 finisher turkeys, which are 5 to 20 weeks of age.
"On May 29 our world changed," said Brad Moline. "We discovered the fact there were 90 dead turkeys in one of the barns." Moline said he swabbed samples from the birds, and took them to Iowa State University where his worst fears were confirmed, they had avian influenza.
On hand for a news conference Monday was Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Dr. Jack Shere, Associate Deputy Administrator of USDA APHIS Services, and Mark Schouten, Director of the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and farmer Brad Moline.
"We know it's carried a certain distance on wind and dust," said Dr. Jack Shere "We know that when farms get infected, people move this virus very readily."
Shere said work is on going on a vaccine for the disease. He said it has some drawbacks. The vaccine cannot prevent or stop the avian influenza, only slow it down. Also certain countries will not buy turkey product if it is treated with a vaccine.
The Moline family farm has been in business over several generations for 90 years just northwest of Manson. Brad Moline recently testified in Washington DC before a Senate committee investigating the bird flu outbreak.
"This has been devastating disease here in Iowa, it's affecting families to a degree that many families have never seen anything like this, financially, or emotionally," said Bill Northey, "We still have a lot of farms that are yet to get to the stage where they are able to put birds back in."
"Iowa has experienced many disasters, typically they are tornadoes and floods, or snow storms," said Mark Schouten, "We've done nothing like this in the past. Schouten emphasized how Iowa governmental agencies worked together to help coordinate a response to the disease. Schouten said over 300 state employees worked on avian influenza.
Since April 13 of 2015, there have been 77 farm sites identified with avian influenza, and 34 million birds affected. There were 35 commercial turkey operations, and 22 commercial egg production flocks, 13 pullet flocks, 1 breeding flock, and 6 back yard flocks.