SIOUX CITY (KTIV) – Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship Secretary Mike Naig was at Morningside University on Friday to tour the school’s greenhouse for the first time, but the conversation quickly turned to bird flu.
At the end of the line ? The secretary says there have been no reported cases of jumping flu in humans, but there is a risk of it happening.
Bird flu, known as “high path”, has been spotted at sites in Iowa.
We know of cases in Buena Vista and Clark counties. Here is the secretary being questioned about possible human infections.
“I think it’s still a theoretical risk. And that’s important. And that’s why we say and continue to say that there are no known cases. And if that should change, we’ll tell people, but it does,” Naig said.
The Ministry of Agriculture does not disclose the exact locations of infected poultry sites. Other poultry farmers in the area are notified, but neighbors without poultry are not notified by the state.
Here is the secretary when asked to divulge the specific sites.
“Yes, we give information at the county level, there is a confidentiality issue. And of course, operationally, we need to be able to work around these sites without any hindrance,” Naig said.
Naig says the state is trying to avoid a repeat of 2015 when a bird flu moved from farm to farm causing catastrophic damage. Currently, Naig says commercial birds are likely infected through contact with wild birds, not other farm birds.
The secretary heard students growing various crops, including a rare plant from the Democratic Republic of the Congo called amaranth.
About 17 pounds of the plant were harvested today. In fact, each plant can be harvested four times per semester.
“And there’s a huge market in Sioux City for amaranth. So yes, we can bring them their food back to Sioux City. So it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Morningside student Joshua Tibbits.
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