WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) during a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing questioned members of the U.S. Department of Agriculture on the Avian Influenza Epidemic, where he stressed the detrimental impact of the recently detected H5NI strain of avian influenza for America’s turkey and egg industries.
Iowa and Minnesota experienced major outbreaks of the H5N1 strain of avian influenza this past winter, but the outbreak ultimately spread to 16 different states. Losses to the turkey industry and the egg industry represent roughly 3 percent and 10 percent, respectively, of total U.S. production.
While North Carolina has not yet experienced an outbreak of this severe strain of avian influenza, Tillis underscored the need to get ahead of the problem to protect our farmers and integrators from financial loss, prevent job cut backs and to keep costs low for consumers.
“We also need to focus on the economic impact and the job impact,” said Tillis. “Minnesota and Iowa over the past year saw somewhere around $1.6 billion in economic impact…For every job loss as a processor, we lose about two more jobs in the supply chain, so these communities are very hard hit by this.”