Minnesota Turkey Growers Association
We’re seeing a new phase in the bird flu outbreak that has led to the deaths of millions of turkeys in Minnesota. A small number of affected farmers are now restocking.
Three months after a devastating form of bird flu made its first appearance in the Midwest, the first poultry farm in the region to be affected is growing turkeys again — even though the virus is still lurking in Minnesota and beyond.
All poultry shows have been canceled at the Minnesota State Fair and county fairs across the state this year as authorities try to stop the spread of bird flu. The Minnesota Board of Animal Health is also prohibiting birds from being included in swap meets, exotic animal sales and petting zoos.
Minnesota turkey farmers are on edge, trying to stop the spread of an avian flu that’s killed millions of birds. Scott Heymer is the owner of Red Bridge Farms in Princeton. He’s been in the turkey business for nearly 40 years, with about 60,000 turkeys on his farm
The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association estimates the state’s turkey producers have lost $15.7 million worth of birds to avian influenza flu outbreaks in recent weeks.
Poultry producers in the nation’s top turkey state are taking extra steps to protect their flocks after a devastating strain of bird flu was confirmed at two Minnesota farms in as many days last week, a disease that had already slammed the doors shut on some key export markets.
Minnesota turkey farmers are boosting protective measures after a lethal strain of bird flu wiped out 15,000 birds in about a week. The H5N2 strain of avian influenza devastated a flock of turkeys at an unidentified Pope County farm. Officials say it’s unlikely to infect humans.
Just in time for Thanksgiving, the nation’s top turkey producer is coming up a little short. Butterball, based out of North Carolina, told retailers that orders for fresh 16-pound turkeys and larger have been cut in half. The shortage is nationwide. Woody Hunt, manager of Rainbow Foods in St. Louis Park, says 40 years ago, Butterball was like the “Cadillac of turkeys.” “Everybody wanted a Butterball, and if you didn’t have a Butterball on your table you couldn’t brag to your neighbors that you had the best turkey,” Hunt said.
Next week, some lucky Minnesota turkeys will be heading to the White House. John Burkel of Badger in Northern Minnesota raised the birds. He’s going to pick two of them to send to President Obama, to be pardoned the day before Thanksgiving.
Gov. Mark Dayton has given a Minnesota turkey its walking papers just in time for Thanksgiving.
It’s not even Halloween, but we’re already talking turkey as some Minnesota students are raising the bird that will be pardoned by President Obama this Thanksgiving.