Statement on USDA APHIS Announcement of Fall Preparedness & Response Plan for HPAI

Date: September 18, 2015

Please attribute to Steve Olson, Executive Director, Minnesota Turkey Growers Association

Minnesota’s turkey farmers have been working hard to prepare for any future introductions of highly-pathogenic avian influenza. The USDA’s plans are consistent with what have been our three major areas of focus: rapid response to an outbreak, strengthening biosecurity in and around our farms, and wild bird surveillance.



U of MN: Economic impact of avian flu at nearly $310 million as of May 11

Source: University of Minnesota Extension

Media Contact: Allison Sandve, University of Minnesota Extension, office 612-626-4077,

SAINT PAUL, Minn. (5/18/2015)–Losses in poultry production and related businesses due to avian influenza are estimated at $309.9 million in Greater Minnesota, according to a newly released emergency economic impact analysis from University of Minnesota Extension.

Using economic modeling, analysts determined that for every million dollars in direct losses, the estimated ripple effect leads to $1.8 million in overall economic losses, including $450,000 in wages. Ripple effect losses stem from factors including reduced wage-earner and business-to-business spending.

The Extension analysis put losses of poultry production–both turkeys and egg-laying chickens–at $113 million as of May 11.

“These projections represent where we stand as of May 11,” said Brigid Tuck, Extension senior analyst, who led the study. “If the virus affects more farms, as we have seen since May 11, the impact levels will rise. If barns stay empty for another cycle of poultry production, these numbers could potentially double”

Poultry production and processing is a $3 billion industry in the state; overall, poultry growers represent about 7 percent of the agricultural and forestry economy. The study focuses on the state’s 80 non-metro counties, where nearly all poultry production occurs. Among Extension’s other findings:

  • The industry that produces feed for poultry and other animals will be hardest hit by poultry production losses. For every $1 million of lost poultry production, nearly $230,000 of demand for poultry feed is lost.
  • For every 100 jobs lost due to reduced poultry processing, 9 are in the trucking industry.
  • Other job losses related to poultry processing are 6 and 7 per 100 jobs, respectively, in wholesale trade and specialized poultry processing.

The idling of 100 poultry processing jobs will result in an estimated 210 jobs being affected across all industries. Economic losses stemming per 100 poultry processing jobs impacted are estimated at $44.8 million, including $9.3 million in labor income.

Researchers noted that insurance and government compensation for producers may help alleviate losses for poultry producers, though the impact on other industries will not be offset.

“We know avian influenza is devastating, emotionally and financially, for growers and those whose businesses are connected to the poultry industry. These early estimates show its impact on farmers, Main Street, the industry and the state,” said economist Kent Olson, associate dean of Extension’s Center for Community Vitality. “This analysis is an initial look at the short- to immediate-term picture to give decision-makers context. We recommended a more detailed analysis take place once the avian influenza outbreak reaches a conclusion.”

About this report: University of Minnesota Extension senior economic impact analyst Brigid Tuck prepared this report using input-output analysis, which traces the flow of goods and services in an economy.

The report represents data occurring up to May 11, 2015. Projections were calculated based on data including 2014 poultry industry figures. Jobs include full-time, part-time and seasonal. Support from the EDA Center at the University of Minnesota Crookston helped fund this report.

An explanation of the economic impact modeling, as well as other considerations, can be found in the full report or at

For more news from U of M Extension, visit or contact Extension Communications at University of Minnesota Extension is an equal opportunity educator and employer.


Joint MTGA/CEAM Statement on Governor Dayton’s Emergency Executive Order

Minnesota Turkey Growers Association Logo CEAM Logo

Minnesota Turkey Growers Association | Chicken and Egg Association of Minnesota

Joint Statement on Governor Dayton’s Emergency Executive Order (April 23, 2015)

Attribute to: Steve Olson, Executive Director (MTGA and CEAM)

Today, Governor Mark Dayton issued Emergency Executive Order 15-09, declaring a Peacetime State of Emergency in Minnesota in response to the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).

Under the new state of emergency:

  • The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) will activate the Minnesota Emergency Operations Plan, coordinating response efforts across all agencies of state government and helping local governments respond and recover from the emergency
  • And the Adjutant General of Minnesota will order to state active duty such personnel and equipment of the military forces of the State as required, and for such a period of time as necessary to provide assistance and emergency relief services.

“The recent findings of avian influenza in turkey and egg-laying hen flocks in Minnesota and several other states are of great concern. Perhaps no one is more concerned than our state’s egg, chicken and turkey farmers, who are working tirelessly to protect their flocks and prevent this disease from spreading to their farms,” said Steve Olson, Executive Director of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) and the Chicken and Egg Association of Minnesota (CEAM).

“We are grateful for partnership we have with Governor Dayton and his staff; the U.S. Department of Agriculture; University of Minnesota; and several Minnesota state agencies: Board of Animal Health, Department of Agriculture, Department of Health and the Department of Natural Resources. Together with the poultry farmers in our state, we will stop the spread of this virus and take the steps necessary to ensure the poultry industry remains vital and we provide consumers with safe, nutritious, high-quality food,” said Olson.

As a reminder: This is NOT a food safety issue. All flocks are tested for this virus, well before going to market. Any flocks tested positive for the virus are NOT allowed to enter the food supply. And as always, poultry and eggs should be handled properly and cooked to an internal temperature of 165° F to kill bacteria and viruses.

Also, the risk of human infection is very low. To date, the HPAI strains that have been found in the United States have not been detected in humans. Risk of infection is limited to people in direct contact with affected birds.

For more information, visit



Facts About Avian Influenza in Minnesota Turkey Flocks

For immediate release

Date: April 8, 2015

Contact:  Lara Durben

(Buffalo, Minn.) … Since early March, there have been a number of flocks of turkeys diagnosed with a highly-pathogenic strain of avian influenza (HPAI).  All incidences currently are isolated introductions of the HPAI strain known as H5N2; the flocks are on different farms in several different counties of the state.

“First and foremost, the Minnesota Department of Health assures us that this strain does not pose a health risk to the general public and no human infections have been identified in the U.S.,” said Steve Olson, executive director of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA). “Consumers should also know that HPAI is not a food safety issue.”

The turkey products you purchase are completely safe to eat: 

  • This is NOT a food safety issue. All flocks are tested for this virus, well before going to market. Any flocks tested positive for the virus are NOT allowed to enter the food supply.
  • All poultry identified with HPAI are prohibited by law from entering the marketplace.
  • As a reminder, all poultry and eggs should be handled properly and cooked to an internal temperature of 165° F to kill bacteria and viruses.

Olson  said turkey farmers continue to be on high alert. “Our experience so far has been this strain of HPAI is deadly to poultry, and in response, Minnesota’s turkey farmers are making significant increases to biosecurity measures on their farms to protect their flocks. Comprehensive disease prevention protocols on commercial turkey farms include, but are not limited to, restricting farm access, preventing flocks from exposure to wild and migratory birds, increasing veterinary monitoring of flocks, and using protective gear at all times.”

Olson indicated that MTGA is working closely with authorities as avian influenza surveillance proceeds and to keep our members updated on the findings of that testing.

“Providing excellent care of their flocks and ensuring the safety of the turkey products they produce are of critical importance to Minnesota’s turkey farmers, and the turkey farming community is taking USDA’s identification of avian influenza in the U.S. very seriously,” said Olson.

Backyard and pastured flocks could be at a higher risk as these birds may be in closer contact with carriers of HPAI, such as waterfowl. Owners of such flocks are urged to take the precautionary measures:

  • Restrict access from wildlife and wild birds to your birds by use of enclosed shelter and fencing of the outdoor areas. (Consider use of smaller mesh hardware cloth which allows exclusion of wild birds while still allowing outdoor exposure.)
  • Keep feeders and waterers clean and out of reach of wild birds. Clean up feed spills.
  • Use dedicated or clean clothing and foot wear when working with poultry
  • Don’t share equipment or reuse materials like egg cartons from neighbors and bird owners, you could be borrowing disease.

MTGA has several fact sheets and web links with much more information about HPAI and biosecurity measures for farmers at

You may also visit the Minnesota Board of Animal Health’s website on avian influenza:

For more information on avian influenza basics for backyard flocks, please visit the University of Minnesota Extension Poultry Website at where there are two factsheets available:

  • Avian Influenza Basics for Organic and Pastured Poultry Flock Producers- A descriptive guide to Avian Influenza; what to do if your poultry may be infected, and key biosecurity recommendations; and
  • Avian Influenza Basics for Urban and Backyard Poultry Owners – A descriptive guide to Avian Influenza; what to do if your poultry may be infected, and steps to protect your flock. Each contains additional resources as well.

Another good source of information for backyard flocks is this USDA website:

About MTGA

The MTGA, founded in 1939 and located in Buffalo, MN, is a nonprofit association dedicated to fostering a successful Minnesota turkey industry and its ability to make positive contributions to consumers, the economy, the environment and its members. Minnesota is currently ranked #1 for turkey production in the U.S. with its 450 turkey farmers raising approximately 46 million turkeys in 2014. Minnesota has the most independent turkey farmers of any state in the U.S.

For further details, visit ,, find us on Facebook ( and follow us on Twitter (@MinnesotaTurkey)