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Chicken farmers react to state ban on poultry sales

Published: Mar. 31, 2022 at 10:23 PM CDT
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MINN. (KTTC) – Minnesota Board of Animal Health is issuing a 31-day statewide ban on all poultry sales and exhibitions, because of bird flu outbreaks. This will not stop sales in the grocery store.

The ban is effective from Friday, April 1 through Sunday, May 1.

“I absolutely agree. I’m surprised it didn’t come sooner with the amount of transmission that was going around the state of Minnesota,” Kaitlin Weckwerth, a Poultry farmer in chicken.

The state reports a total of 348,883 turkeys in the state have been infected with the flu since 3/25 in Minnesota.

Nationally, it’s impacted 20 states.

“We now have everything undercover. Our flocks are undercover and in closed runs. Safe from any migratory waterfall, in fact, any wild birds of any sort,” said Kristin Fake, a chicken farmer in Akeley.

Many poultry farms are taking action to avoid outbreaks within their birds.

“We have boots, my husband and I, that are very specific to our farm only. They’re sanitized every night with Lysol,” Weckwerth said.

The state says the bird flu is very contagious and can spread from flock to flock within a matter of days.

The University of Minnesota hosted a webinar that discussed the virus that’s called, avian influenza (HPAI).

“It’s going to be the initial point source contact from wild birds. We know that they are migrating this time of year. And we can expect that they’re going to visit a farm, because they’re spilled food, spilled grain pools of water,” said Abby Schuft, U of M Assistant Extension Professor, Center for Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.

The virus is deadly to birds.

Luckily, Fake and Weckworth have never experienced the issue but the sale ban does impact business.

“It’s going to change the way I market them. It’s going to change my whole business plan because now I’m going to have to feed those birds and those chicks and raise them up longer than I probably would have,” Fake said.

In the long run, it could also impact consumers.

“This isn’t just impacting a couple of turkeys in a barn. This isn’t just impacting a couple of barnyard chickens, This is impacting like you said, grocery stores,” said Weckwerth. ”It’s definitely going to impact the entire supply chain as a whole.”

The sales ban does not impact poultry sales in grocery stores.

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