Bird flu blamed for 233 temporary layoffs at Jennie-O in Faribau - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Bird flu blamed for 233 temporary layoffs at Jennie-O in Faribault

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FARIBAULT, Minn. (KTTC) -- Citing a reduced number of birds available in its supply chain due to the Avian Flu, Jennie-O announced Tuesday that 233 employees will be laid off at its Faribault plant.

The Willmar-based company will move to a single processing shift.

"This will be a temporary layoff and our intent is to have everyone come back to work when bird numbers return to normal levels," said Plant Manager Randy Vergin. "We do not have an anticipated return to work date at this time."

The layoffs become effective May 26.

According to the Jennie-O website, avian flu has been confirmed in more than 20 flocks owned or processed by Jennie-O Turkey Store. As of Tuesday afternoon, the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service reports there have been 67 detections of bird flu in Minnesota, affecting 3,762,360 birds.

The layoffs come one day after the bird flu hit the biggest operation in Minnesota yet -- a farm with more than a million chickens. According to the latest H5N2 report, those chickens are on a farm in Nicollet County near Mankato.

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health also reports new cases at turkey farms in Kandiyohi, Pipestone, and Swift Counties and the first outbreak in Renville County.

Meanwhile, Gov. Mark Dayton is supporting a bill that would open $10 million to farmers with birds that caught the virus. Farmers could get up to $200,000 to replace flocks, make building improvements, or cover their losses.
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