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Iowa Secretary of Ag asks for funding to help prepare for and respond to animal disease

More than 25 million Iowa birds were culled as a result of avian flu

By Diego Flammini
Assistant Editor, North American Content

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey asked Governor Terry Branstad for $500,000 in funding to help officials prepare for and respond to a possible animal disease outbreak.

“I recognize we are in a very tight budget time in the state, due in large part to the challenging economic environment in Iowa’s ag industry.  However, it is important we continue to invest in priority areas that put the state in a good position for continued growth,” Northey said in a press release.

Last year, 77 sites across 18 Iowa counties experienced an avian flu outbreak. As a result, more than 31.5 million birds were culled. A May 2015 report by Iowa State University estimates the total economic impact was about $957 million.

Northey said he understands the importance of Iowa’s animal industry and doesn’t want to experience another episode like the bird flu outbreak.

“The value of Iowa’s animal industry is $13.45 billion, and growing. Unfortunately, the High Path Avian Influenza outbreak last year showed how devastating a foreign animal disease can be in our state. These funds would allow the Department to better prepare for a future animal disease emergency response,” Northey said in the release. has reached out to the Iowa Poultry Association and the Iowa Egg Council for comment.

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