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Iowa Congressmen call for federal assistance with chicken flu outbreak

ChickensWASHINGTON, D.C. – The bipartisan, bicameral Iowa delegation, led by Congressman Dave Loebsack, on Thursday called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide any assistance they can under their statutory authority to help affected states combat the recent outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI H5N2), also known as bird flu. In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the Members of Congress detailed the vested interest that the USDA has in containing and preventing the spread of this outbreak. As of today, Iowa has had eight confirmed cases and four probable cases of bird flu, affecting more than 10 million birds. Iowa is the nation’s leading egg-producing state.

U.S. Capitol
U.S. Capitol

“Iowa leads the nation in egg production, producing approximately 16.5 billion eggs annually, and is ninth in turkey production. Within the past month, the HPAI H5N2 virus has impacted one-sixth of Iowa’s 59.5 million egg laying chickens and over 100,000 turkeys,” the Members of Congress wrote. “While there is no known risk of HPAI H5N2 transferring to humans, stopping the spread quickly is necessary to safeguard our country’s poultry and egg producers and ensuring a stable domestic supply of these foods that are an integral part of healthy diets for millions of Americans. Our nation has a vested interest in containing and preventing the spread to other Iowa communities and states, and ensuring consumers are not adversely impacted by increasing egg and poultry prices.”

In the letter, the members of the Iowa delegation called on USDA to:

– Provide communities battling the avian influenza with all available assistance;
-Provide Members of Congress with time-sensitive updates on new cases and requests for further resources to help turkey farmers and egg producers; and
-Inform Congress of the economic impact that the poultry and egg reductions will have on producers and consumers.

A copy of the letter can be found here.

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