Iowa study expects 3-year price hike on eggs due to bird flu

Iowa study expects 3-year price hike on eggs due to bird flu

Study suggests bird flu outbreak has cost 8,500 jobs in Iowa alone; about 15,600 nationally

An Iowa Farm Bureau study prepared by Decision Innovation Solutions finds that the avian flu outbreak has cost up to 8,500 jobs in Iowa alone.

The outbreak, which the study said resulted in the loss of 1.5 million turkeys and 30 million layers in the state, also has resulted in $1.2 billion in lower output and a decrease of $97.9 million in federal tax revenue there.

Related: USDA, CDC officials answer avian flu questions

IFBF Director of Research and Commodity Services Dave Miller says that the ripple effects of the lost jobs and revenue could last for up to three years, which will also impact egg and poultry prices, since it takes months to get the birds and the staff back in place.

Study suggests bird flu outbreak has cost 8,500 jobs in Iowa alone; about 15,600 nationally (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

"Egg prices are likely to peak out this summer, but the "elevated" price for eggs is likely to linger for a minimum of 12 months and could last for two to three years. Recovery from this outbreak which devastated Iowa egg and poultry farms will not be swift," Miller said.

About $427 million in value-added income was lost in Iowa alone, because grain farmers and other businesses that sell their feed and other goods and services to poultry farms couldn't continue to make and sell products and services like they did before the outbreak.

Miller also said in the IFBF report that many of the egg farm workers who lost their jobs are moving away to seek employment in other towns or other industries.

Related: Could there be a 'Round 2' of bird flu?

"As for the future risk, the entire industry is reviewing all of their biosecurity protocols, but since about 16 percent of all wild water fowl are carriers of avian influenza, the potential for exposure is difficult to eliminate. Farms are working to minimize contact of their birds with wild birds, but it is very difficult to keep out sparrows, starlings, and everything that migrates over these barns," he said.

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National impact
Nationally, layer operations most affected by HPAI are in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and South Dakota. These states represent a significant percentage of pre-outbreak inventories, particularly for Iowa (52%) and Minnesota (nearly 40%).

While the research expects Iowa to remain in an elevated price environment for eggs for up to the next three years, nationally the figure is about six to nine months.

However, figures for lost jobs and output are higher nationally – about 15,693 jobs are estimated lost because of the flu. Additionally, the study expects $2.6 billion in lower output, a decrease of $248.6 million in federal tax receipts, and a $136.1 million decrease in state and local tax receipts.

Source: Iowa Farm Bureau/DIS

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