South Dakota Poultry Rebounds from Bird Flu Outbreak

Egg producers in South Dakota are doing well a year after the bird flu outbreak that resulted in the loss of millions of birds across the Midwest.

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Soaring egg prices and hardship for egg producers and turkey farmers in the spring and summer of last year were the notable effects of the outbreak.

But relief is on the horizon.

Dakota Layers, a Flandreau-based egg producer, repopulated last month all nine of its flocks that included 1.3 million hens.

“The rebuilding process took a lot of time and energy,” said Jason Ramsdell, vice president of Dakota Layers.

The repopulation benefits the consumers with lower egg prices as young hens produce eggs faster than aging hens.

Meanwhile, farmer-owned turkey plant Dakota Provisions is planning an $8.5 million expansion of its cold storage unit.

“The first year of the new facility should take us from $250 million to $300 million sales. Then higher each year after for several years,” said Mark Heuston, the company’s human resources director.

Dakota Provisions lost approximately 618,000 turkeys in the 2015 outbreak, which is 12 percent of its total turkey population.

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