chicken

When avian influenza hit the Midwest in 2015, egg producer Daybreak Foods Inc., was one of the hardest companies hit. The company depopulated two flocks in an effort to eliminate the disease from the premises.

Daybreak Foods worked with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) to implement measures to control the disease.

“Throughout this situation, our farm has relied on DATCP,” says Bill MacFarlane, owner of MacFarlane Pheasants. “If I called, I was able to talk to someone.”

MacFarlane says his team attended meetings and sat in on DATCP calls to learn what steps to take, including restricting farm access from outside visitors, washing the tires of every vehicle entering the farm and requiring employees to wear protective clothing. MacFarlane’s farm exports 20 percent of its products, and many countries had placed an embargo on Wisconsin poultry.

“We had one order to France for seven shipments of eggs, and all seven shipments were canceled,” he says.

Even so, MacFarlane says he is glad the impact to his farm was not more severe and is confident he’s prepared for future outbreaks.

“We’re going to keep doing the things we should be doing, such as testing our birds for avian influenza, enacting biosecurity protocols, and doing what DATCP told us,” he says. “

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