Recovering From Avian Flu

By: Amy Gleason
By: Amy Gleason

"As easy as it got here, it can come again," said Steve Long, owner of Franwood Farms, Inc. He's begun repopulation, but says he's apprehensive. "No, I don't think it's over. I'm operating my facility as if everything is positive, everybody that comes in is treated that way."

Since beginning repopulation, he's strengthened his bio-security measures by checking and decontaminating all vehicles and equipment moving between farms and by restricting visitors. Even all of his changes aren't a guarantee.

"Obviously, there's a lot of risk involved," said Ray Atkinson of Pilgrim's Pride. "We are doing risk analysis individually, on a case by case basis to determine the feasibility of putting birds back on the farms."

For Long, Avian flu is not his only problem. Last April's tornado ripped through his farm. But he says it's no comparison to the Avian flu.

"The tornado hasn't been as severe because we had insurance to take care of that," said Long. "But if we could get some funds from this to sort of act like the tornado insurance, I think we'll be okay."

Poultry farmers don't have insurance for Avian flu because it's too expensive. Even if money is approved, it could be a long process before it's in the hands of the farmers.

An estimated $100 million has been lost due to the Avian flu.

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