Minnesota turkey industry continues to recover from HPAI
Growers in the nation’s number one turkey-producing state have bounced back following the avian influenza outbreak two years ago.
From March until early June 2015, 110 Minnesota turkey and egg-laying farms were diagnosed with highly pathogenic avian flu, resulting in the loss of nine million turkeys and chickens.
Remarkably, Minnesota Turkey Growers Association director Steve Olson says no farms went out of business because of the outbreak.
“And the recovery has been strong. It’s a pretty business-savvy group. That was one of the first impressions I had when I took this job 17 years ago was that as an industry and as individuals, they’re pretty business-savvy because they understand that there are business cycles.”
He tells Brownfield growers put money away during the good years knowing bad years would come.
“And I think that helped them weather this storm. And it’s (also) a credit to the overall infrastructure we have in Minnesota, from the Board of Animal Health, Department of Ag, USDA, and the ability of them to work with the industry to help us solve problems. That made a huge difference in how we responded and how we recovered.”
Olson says the turkey industry remains an economic factor in Minnesota largely because of that infrastructure.