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Ernst Statement on USDA Avian Flu Preparedness

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) released the following statement after the release of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) plan to address potential future outbreaks of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI):

“I look forward to thoroughly reviewing the USDA’s proposed plan to ensure our farmers and producers – in Iowa and across the country – have the necessary safeguards in place to prepare for and respond to potential future outbreaks as migratory waterfowl are soon returning. It is crucial that the USDA implement the necessary fixes in order to help prevent the same devastating losses and delays our ag industry suffered from as a result of this massive outbreak.

“We have seen first-hand the crippling effects of the avian flu in our state. I continue to hear from Iowa poultry and egg producers frustrated by the government’s response to this outbreak, which has taken a significant financial and emotional toll. In working alongside our federal and state governments, I remain committed to working to ensure we are as prepared as possible for any potential outbreaks in the future.”


Senator Ernst Seeks Answers on the Avian Flu

  • In April, Senator Ernst joined the bipartisan, bicameral Iowa delegation in a letter calling on the USDA to provide assistance to combat the outbreak.
  • Senator Ernst held a series of town meetings to discuss the impact of HPAI in Iowa.
  • In a letter sent in May, Senators Grassley and Ernst urged the USDA to ensure that resources had been properly deployed to Iowa to fight the ongoing HPAI outbreak.
  • At the request of Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Ernst (R-IA), the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry held a hearing in July entitled “Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza: The Impact of the U.S. Poultry Sector and Protecting U.S. Poultry Flocks” to address the response of the federal government to the ongoing outbreak.
  • In June, Senator Ernst joined members of the Iowa delegation in a letter supporting Governor Terry Branstad’s request for a federal disaster declaration for the state due to the catastrophic losses caused by the outbreak.
  • In July, Senator Ernst authored a column in the Sioux City Journal, highlighting the integral role Iowans play in federal bird flu strategy.

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