The Trickle Down Effect of Avian Influenza

A noted ag economist says the impact of the highly pathogenic H5N2 Avian Influenza will be most severe in northwest Iowa…

“We have seen Avian Influenza move hard into NW Iowa, that is where we will see the biggest economic impact here. We will see the loss of jobs here for a while and it will take up to a year to recover.”

That’s Iowa State University Extension Ag Economist Chad Hart. He says the Iowa egg industry will definitely be hit the hardest…

“Iowa is the number one producer in the country. When you take it off the market there is a ripple effect in the market.”

Hart says it’s tough to put a dollar figure on the losses due to avian influenza – in part because new cases continue to pop up…

“Its very hard to gauge because we are still trying to figure out how big this wave will be. The longer it persists the harder it is to gather all the facts.”

Additionally – Hart says it’s tough to say how long it will be before the industry returns to normal.

“Its also about how quickly the industry can rebound after this impact.”

Hart says the loss of grain sales because of depopulation may have a localized impact on prices for corn and soybean meal – but overall – the impact will be minimal.

Iowa farms have lost more than 26-million chickens and turkeys to the disease. Two new cases were announced on Tuesday.


A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.