Ag Economist: Avian Flu Hurts Locals, Not Consumers

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Courtesy: Purdue Agricultural Communication photo/Tom Campbell Courtesy: Purdue Agricultural Communication photo/Tom Campbell

A Purdue University agricultural economist says the prices of turkey and eggs have not changed much since an avian influenza outbreak affected more than 400,000 turkeys and chickens in southern Indiana. Philip Paarlberg says the ripple effects from the disease, however, will have a major impact on operations in Dubois County, where the incidents were detected.

Purdue says the county is the largest turkey-producing county in Indiana, growing 1.4 million birds a year. Indiana ranks fourth in the nation in turkey production.

Paarlberg says the birds that were killed only represent a small fraction of the country's total population.

He says national quarterly estimates show consumer price changes of only plus or minus 1 percent. "With these price changes there will be very little impact on consumers," Paarlberg said. "At least that is how it stands now."

Following the January 15 announcement, countries including Canada, Mexico, Japan and Cuba have announced some restrictions on Indiana poultry. Purdue says any additional incidents of the flu strain that led to the culling could result in price fluctuations.

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