Vilsack addresses fall HPAI cases

The USDA says poultry producers need to strengthen their biosecurity practices as cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza pick up steam across the Midwest.

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack tells Brownfield it needs to be a year-round practice. “I can’t emphasize enough the biosecurity measures that we’ve been working on, the industry has been working on, are incredibly important to containing HPAI.”

He says producers should prevent contact between their birds and wild birds. “The location of these facilities near water resources, it tracks the waterfowl. You’ve got it at heightened risk because of location and size.”

HPAI cases have been confirmed in Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota this fall and Vilsack says the agency provided resources to those impacted. “We continue to make sure that the flocks are depopulated properly, that we sanitize the facilities, that we don’t reopen them until we’re sure that they’re ready to go.”

Vilsack says efforts to develop a vaccine continue, but “We’re not anywhere near there.”

He spoke to Brownfield at the recent World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogue in Des Moines, Iowa.

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