Branstad: Poultry industry is recovering

August 20, 2015

DES MOINES, Iowa —Gov. Terry Branstad told fairgoers at the Iowa State Fair Wednesday the poultry industry is recovering after the avian influenza outbreak has claimed 34 million birds.

Speaking outside the Turkey Federation booth, Gov. Terry Branstad, joined by Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey and representatives for the poultry industry, told Iowans the recovery will take some time.

This year, birds were banned at the fair as a precaution against the bird flu, leaving nothing more than dozens of empty cages.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is gearing up production of a vaccine, taking bids from animal health companies.

The department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said it’s preparing for the possible return this fall of the H5N2 virus.

Questions are now being raised on whether or not it will be released soon enough.

“To hear that something is 100 percent effective is probably the most hopeful thing we’ve heard in a very long time,” said Dave Rettig, president of Rembrandt Foods, a large egg producer based in Spirit Lake. “If you have a vaccine for your child, I think it’s something that our company would really appreciate having the opportunity to deploy.”

Companies may use a government-prototype seed strain or create their own that could be mass produced for a vaccine if needed.

The USDA, however, won’t approve a vaccine for use unless it’s deemed necessary to control another outbreak.

The agency said Tuesday it wants to acquire an emergency stockpile of vaccines available for delivery anywhere in the U.S. within 24 hours.

The USDA seeks companies capable of producing at least 100 million doses and up to 500 million doses.  

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