The cost of bird flu so far: $300M and counting, one report says


Bird flu is taking a terrible toll on Minnesota's poultry industry, striking commercial turkey, chicken and egg producers.

According to a report by the University of Minnesota Extension, the monetary losses so far add up to $300 million.

The study estimates bird flu has cost Minnesota poultry producers at least $113 million. The addition of losses in related industries pushes the totals past the $300 million mark.

The report, which uses charts, graphs and data to track the industry through May 11, notes the disease had been confirmed at 85 turkey and chicken farms in 21 Minnesota counties, as of that date. (The most recent numbers show the virus in 88 farms.) The report counts the loss of nearly 5.7 million birds in the state.

The 13-page report (available as a PDF) goes on to note that approximately 9 percent of all turkeys and 14 percent of all laying chickens in Minnesota have now been affected by the outbreak.

Authored by the Extension Service's Senior Economic Impact Analyst Brigid Tuck, the report suggests that for every $1 million dollar loss in poultry and egg production, an estimated 3 jobs at poultry and egg farms themselves will be threatened.

The industry that provides feed for turkeys and chickens will be hardest hit, according to Tuck's report, with employment casualties also being felt in poultry processing and trucking.

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