Costs of Bird Flu Continue to Mount - Star-Tribune August 12, 2015
Lost turkey and egg production has decreased Minnesota economic output by an estimated $647 million as of July 10, according to an analysis done last month by University of Minnesota Extension. That number includes producers’ losses, as well as lost wages and benefits due to temporary layoffs and work-hour reductions in the poultry industry.
Meanwhile, the federal government’s bird flu tab in Minnesota alone was over $80 million as of July 30, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The USDA has been paying poultry farmers an indemnity for birds that are not yet sick but that must be euthanized to stop the flu’s spread. The indemnity payout in Minnesota through July 30 was $60.8 million. The USDA has spent another $21.9 million in the state for flu-related services.
Nationally, the USDA’s bird flu tab is expected to be around $700 million.
In Minnesota, the Legislature granted the Minnesota Department of Agriculture $3.6 million from the state’s general fund to fight the bird flu. Another $2.9 million was put aside in a bird flu disaster assistance account, while $10 million more was made available for zero-percent-interest loans to stricken farmers.