State Ag Groups Ready For Comeback After Avian Influenza

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DES MOINES, Iowa- Governor Branstad Wednesday stopped at the Turkey Leg stand at the Iowa State Fair to voice support Iowa farmers and families dealing with the aftermath of avian influenza.

The Governor was joined by Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, State Agriculture Secretary, Bill Northey, and Egg and Turkey industry officials to talk about how bird flu has affected the state.

"We appreciated the perseverance of both the Turkey Federation, and the egg producers in our state," said Branstad.  "Iowa has suffered catastrophic economic losses since the outbreak."

Branstad said 34 million birds were lost to the flu, and it was found on 77 sites in Iowa to the outbreak, which started on April 13th.

Dave Rettig of Rembrandt Foods, in Buena Vista County said the avian influenza had caused him to reduce his work force by 200 employees.  He is hoping some of those employees will still be around, once they get back in business, but he said some have moved on.

Iowa is the leading egg producing state with 16.5 billion eggs produced annually. Since the shut down of some facilities eggs have been imported to Iowa from Latvia, and Spain to help meet the needs of customers here in Iowa.

All the producers are anxious to get back into production.

"To make sure we control the outbreak, if it happens again," said Ross Thoreson, President of the Iowa Turkey Federation. "To get those back to work affected by this disease, so they can start doing what they love, which is providing the state, country, and world with safe, nutritious food."

Some producers have heard of possibilities of a vaccine for the Bird Flu.  Some are hoping to get the vaccine to use to prevent another major outbreak.

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