The U.S. is being hit by an epidemic that is affecting our nation’s farmers most.
A bird flu outbreak has caused the government to reduce poultry export forecasts by almost 6% from last month. This news came just after the U.S. Department of Agriculture stated that a second flock of turkeys had come down with the H5N2 flu, a strain that can kill an entire flock in 48 hours.
Birds in eight states have tested positive for this same deadly strain since the beginning of 2015. This has caused other countries to limit imports of American poultry and eggs. The most shocking and damaging restrictions have been the countrywide import bans of these products by South Korea and China. Our poultry market with these two nations is a $5.7 billion industry, so these bans came as a devastating blow.
“We didn’t expect China or South Korea really to take as severe, drastic action as they did,” said Jim Sumner, president of the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council.
Though no human infections of bird flu have been detected yet, it could spread to us at any times. The flock of 34,000 recently infected in South Dakota has been hulled in an attempt to stop the spread of infection. We can only pray that this works.