As much as you plan and clean and put measures in place to prevent avian influenza, you’re still at the mercy of what happens around you and that point hit home at MacFarlane this week.
A recognized leader in bio-security, our breeder farms, hatchery and grow-out farms – even though it may be inconvenient for us – are at least a mile or more from each other. Collected eggs are washed and disinfected before they are moved and our outdoor pens are netted to prevent interaction from wild birds that may be carriers. We perform blood draws on the birds every 90 days even though the requirement is 180 days.
But an outbreak of HSN2 at a farm in Jefferson, Wis. for now means an export quarantine for the state. Our egg shipments scheduled for England and France have been canceled. It’s a big financial hit for us and the frustration is that we do all we can and more – and in this case, it’s not enough. It hits home the nature of farming, sometimes it rains – sometimes it doesn’t. Certain catastrophes are just not covered by insurance and this happens to be one of them.
What happens now is the USDA tests all the flocks within 3 kilometers of the Jefferson County farm. We have no facilities that are close to the Jefferson farm, but we, like other Wisconsin operations will have to wait out the quarantine. If no infected birds are found within the 3 kilometers, the embargo gets localized to that area. It may take a week or more to determine that.
And, on the plus side, the weather has started to warm up. HSN2 likes medium temperatures 40s and 50s; warmer temps will burn off the virus. Until that time, we do what we always did to prevent the virus on our farms and a little more. We wash, we disinfect, we isolate operations, we visually check our birds, we do blood draws and our team continues to produce the healthiest game birds we can offer. Read a more detailed description of our Avian Influenza Precautions at Pheasant.com.