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Naig asking USDA for more help after avian flu found in another dairy herd

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(The Center Square) – Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig said Friday he is asking the United States Department of Agriculture for more assistance after a second case of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza was found in a dairy cattle herd this week.

The second case is in Sioux County. A case in O’Brien County was reported earlier this week.

“Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza continues to pose a significant threat to our livestock and the livelihoods of the farmers that care for them. To better prepare and respond to this challenge, the department is taking additional response measures and is making additional resource requests of USDA in order to support this ongoing and collaborative effort,” Naig said. “Our team remains in daily communication with USDA, other states, farm organizations and industry stakeholders and we will be continually evaluating our response steps as new information arises. This is going to take the entire agricultural community working together because we all have a stake in protecting the herds and flocks of Iowa.”

HPIA has also been found in a turkey flock and a flock of egg-laying chickens in Iowa.

Naig is asking the USDA to compensate dairy farmers for lost milk production at a minimum of 90% fair market value, to revise poultry indemnity tables to reflect the fair market value of impacted birds or eggs and to streamline the process to compensate farmers, he said in a news release.

The state is authorizing additional epidemiological strike teams and accelerating research funding. The plan is to test dairy cows where HPIA is detected in poultry, according to the department.

The outbreaks are not a concern for the food supply, but consumers are advised to properly cook eggs and chicken.

“There is no concern about the safety of pasteurized milk or dairy products,’ the department said in a news release. “Pasteurization has continually proven to successfully inactivate bacteria and viruses, like influenza, in milk.”

Gov. Kim Reynolds said she appreciates the proactive response.

“Earlier today Secretary Naig informed me about the plan to test dairy cows in areas where cases of HPAI have been confirmed in poultry flocks,” Reynolds said. “Because Iowa farmers produce 10 percent of the nation’s food supply, protecting the health of our livestock is one of our highest priorities. Additionally, last week I sent a letter to Sec. Vilsack urging the USDA to prioritize and expedite the approval process for animal vaccines designed to combat diseases threatening the agriculture industry.”

Iowa is the tenth state to report HPIA in cattle. The cases stretch across the country from Idaho to North Carolina, according to the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

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