Senate hearing held on HPAI outbreak

EggsBy The Iowa Statesman


At Tuesday’s Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee hearing titled, “Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza: The Impact on the U.S. Poultry Sector and Protecting U.S. Poultry Flocks,” U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) highlighted the devastating harm that the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza has had on farmers across Iowa and the Midwest.

The hearing occurred at the request of Ernst and U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who urged Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) to hold a hearing to review the federal government’s response to the ongoing bird flu outbreak.

During the first panel, Ernst asked Dr. John R. Clifford, Deputy Administrator to the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service Veterinary Services within the U.S. Department of Agriculture about processes put in place to assist producers affected by the bird flu in the state of Iowa. As part of the second panel, she introduced Chairman of the Board of United Egg Producers and Iowa farmer James Dean of Sioux Center, who testified alongside Iowa turkey farmer Brad Moline of Moline Farms in Manson.

Ernst asked Dean and Moline what APHIS can improve going forward, as well as what producers could do to help address any potential, future situation.

Following the hearing, Grassley made the following statement.

“The hearing was productive and provided an opportunity to hear directly from producers impacted by this outbreak.  We were able to learn more about the effort to contain the disease from both producers and the government, and there were some clear areas for improvement identified.  We also discussed what can be done to prevent the spread of the disease in the future.  Many important issues were put on the table that will help us going forward in case an outbreak occurs again.”