Monday, May 4, 2015

Iowa declares avian flu emergency

Iowa Gov. Terry E. Branstad on Friday declared a state of emergency in Iowa to deal with outbreaks of avian influenza that have wiped out a quarter of the state’s egg industry.

The state of emergency continues through May 31, according to a statement from Branstad’s office.

The state of emergency temporarily suspends regulatory provisions pertaining to hours of service for commercial vehicle drivers hauling poultry carcasses infected with or exposed to highly pathogenic avian influenza.

Friday’s declaration came just a day after the federal government’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) granted Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack authority to issue emergency assistance for producers whose flocks have been affected by the virus.

Multiple outbreaks of avian influenza have occurred most recently in Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Arkansas, the Dakotas and Kansas leading to the depopulation of more than eight million turkeys and chickens.