The first major layoff of workers due to the growing bird flu epidemic was announced today, where 233 employees at a Hormel plant in Faribault, Minnesota were told due to a lack of product (turkeys) the company would be moving to a single production line later this month.
See MPRNews report : Jennie-O cuts 233 in Faribault; first mass Minn. layoff tied to bird flu
Today’s update from the Minnesota Board of Animal Health acknowledges this impact, along with the their need to distribute biosecurity protocols for the upcoming county and state fair season, as they add another two presumptive positive farms to that state’s list of infected premises.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 05, 2015
ST PAUL — The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division (HSEM) activated the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) to coordinate the state’s ongoing response to avian influenza. HSEM will coordinate resource needs with several state agencies including the Minnesota Board of Animal Health and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.
Additional HPAI cases in Minnesota
The Minnesota Board of Animal Health today announced two presumptive positive flocks. The following Minnesota county is affected:
- Kandiyohi – 30th (turkeys, flock size information coming soon) and 31st (turkeys, flock size information coming soon) detections
Total number of affected farms – 82
Total number of counties – 21
Total number of birds affected in Minnesota – 5,487,232 (not including pending flocks)
All affected farms remain under quarantine.
Visit the USDA's website for information on all HPAI findings in the United States.
To date, animal health officials have completed the following response zone activities:
- Appraisals have been approved for 78 of the affected premises.
- Birds on 73 of the affected farms have been euthanized.
- Composting is in progress on 69 of the affected farms. Animal health officials and producers are working on carcass disposal on other farms.
- Sampled 704 backyard flocks falling within the control areas of affected farms.
Personnel Assisting in Response Efforts
- 81 state employees
- 129 USDA employees
- 210 total
Jennie-O workers in Faribault
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has been in close contact and working with Jennie-O Turkey Store on the layoff it announced today and will continue to provide support to separated employees.
- DEED is in the process of establishing informational meetings for impacted workers. All known impacted workers will receive notice of these meetings and are welcome to attend. There will be information on Unemployment Insurance and the Dislocated Worker program, and an opportunity to enroll in the Dislocated Worker program to receive customized services which may include job search assistance, counselor-approved training, and related support.
- Impacted employees can call DEED’s Dislocated Worker Rapid Response toll-free number with questions at 866-213-1422 or online.
Poultry at county fairs
The Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture and USDA APHIS Liaisons are working with a task force of local veterinarians to distribute biosecurity outreach materials to County Fair Boards throughout the state in preparation for the County Fair season. Many county fairs have poultry exhibitions and county officials are asked to further distribute the information to people who raise or exhibit poultry.
We may get additional reports from Wisconsin, Iowa, and possibly other states later today.