Iowa poultry producers bring bird flu concerns to Grassley
Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley (R) listens to Iowa poultry and egg producers regarding bird flu in Storm Lake, Iowa, on Tuesday.
STORM LAKE, IA (KTIV) -
Producers are still voicing their concerns in hopes of getting more answers when it comes to bird flu. And, in hopes of gaining reassurance that they'll be better-protected should the bird flu come back this fall.
Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley continued that discussion in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday. For some producers, it's a tough question for some poultry producers to answer if they feel confident all measures are in place to prevent another bird flu outbreak. "I don't know and I don't know if anybody knows," said Dave Rettig.
Dave Rettig, President at Rembrandt Enterprises Inc., in Rembrandt, Iowa, lost half of his egg operation to bird flu. Rettig spent his Tuesday afternoon chatting with Sen. Grassley, and over a dozen other producers on the matter. They're hoping to get on the same page. Something some of the producers say wasn't the case with the USDA. "That everybody working for the USDA is following the same instructions, or the word that was used in here, the same protocol, and you don't get 10 different answers from 10 different government people coming around," said Sen. Charles Grassley, (R) Iowa.
Some producers asked about the possibility of a casualty management insurance program for their birds. "Should it be done exactly like we do crop insurance?" Grassley said inquisitively. "I haven't made up my mind on that."
It's a topic he says needs to be discussed more before weighing in. What wasn't brought up was talk about vaccinating birds. That's something Grassley wants to hear more about. "We need a national discussion on vaccination," said Grassley.
The USDA says it's preparing a vaccine, but won't decide whether to use it until they talk with overseas trade partners. Rettig says, right now, that has no bearing on egg production because they aren't exporting eggs. "The time, if the disease starts again, to vaccinate is now," said Rettig.
The biggest question producers still want answered is how the virus worked its way into bird houses in the first place.