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Iowa addresses bird flu concerns in dairy herds across the state

Iowa addresses bird flu concerns in dairy herds across the state

By Andi Anderson

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) has been discovered in 13 different dairy herds across Iowa, raising significant concerns within the agricultural community.

HPAI is a viral disease affecting both wild and domestic bird populations as well as lactating dairy cattle. I spoke with Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig to understand the measures being taken to manage this outbreak.

"We have positive cases in the state of Iowa because we're looking for it," said Naig.

"The reason that we're looking for it is because we need to understand it better. If you understand how it's spreading between farms, then you can develop biosecurity strategies to prevent that spread. So that's really what we're focused on right now. Here's the other piece about Iowa is that what you've got is several dairies that are positive, and we have poultry sites that are positive. It's the same virus. It's all connected. All of the farms infected in the state of Iowa are connected to the same virus, which tells us that we can't just treat this like a dairy issue or just a poultry issue. We have to treat this as a livestock issue."

Naig was in Wapello County on Monday to present the Brinegar family of Ottumwa with the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award, highlighting their efforts in maintaining excellent day-to-day farming operations.

"So, what we do is recognize farm families really for three things," said Naig. "One is, are they known for doing all the right things when it comes to the care of their livestock. Certainly, this family exemplifies that. Two is, are they doing a good job from a conservation standpoint with the land that they're responsible for. So, in this part of the state especially, we're looking for things like No-Till, using rotational grazing, cover crops, those types of things. Again, this family absolutely has been using those practices."

Dairy cattle that become infected by HPAI can recover with supportive care. Iowa poultry producers and dairy farmers are encouraged to heighten their biosecurity practices and protocols to protect their flocks and herds.

Photo Credit: gettyimages-ahavelaar

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Categories: Iowa, Livestock

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