NAEF Testifies Before Senate Agriculture Committee on Bird Flu
The National Association of Egg Farmers’ President Ken Klippen testified at the Senate Agriculture Committee’s hearing July 7th on the impact of avian influenza on the poultry industry. Klippen said this virus was affecting every sized egg farmer, but the impact will be far greater with international trade impacting the entire economy. He noted that 20% of the broilers are exported annually along with 12% of the turkeys and just under 5% of the eggs and egg products. Klippen stated that 18 countries have already banned all poultry from the U.S. including China, South Korea, South Africa, and Russia. Klippen also stated 31 countries have restricted trade with the U.S. from the infected regions or zones including Canada, Mexico, Japan, and the European Union. Currently there are 48 countries worldwide reporting highly pathogenic avian influenza. Thomas Elam, President, FarmEcon LLC, from Carmel, Indiana also on the panel estimated a $3.3 billion loss from the depopulated chickens and turkeys due to this recent outbreak. He added that a $1.2 billion loss could be attributed to the broiler meat industry, not from depopulated birds, but lost export markets with the chickens produced being sold domestically, increasing supplies and lowering prices. Elam said that should this avian flu strike in Alabama and Georgia where the broiler industry dominates, the economic losses will be several magnitudes higher than what occurred with turkeys and eggs.
Klippen also reiterated the indemnification plan proposed to APHIS in May and urged the Senators to help keep the payment to egg farmers consistent with the federal regulations specifying future egg production.
To see NAEF’s testimony, fast forward the time segment in the bottom of the screen to 1:49:05 to 1:53:14. Also the response to a key question at 2:09:19 to 2:09:59