Last South Dakota farm hit by bird flu to start selling eggs

FLANDREAU, S.D. (AP) — The last poultry farm still recovering from last year's deadly bird flu outbreak has restarted production and plans to be selling eggs shortly. Officials at the Flandreau-based Dakota Layers said in a news release Friday that their eggs will be on local store shelves within...

FLANDREAU, S.D. (AP) — The last poultry farm still recovering from last year's deadly bird flu outbreak has restarted production and plans to be selling eggs shortly.

Officials at the Flandreau-based Dakota Layers said in a news release Friday that their eggs will be on local store shelves within a week.

The bird flu led to the deaths of 1.7 million turkeys and chickens in South Dakota and took a toll financially on the state's farmers and processing plants.

The strain that led to deaths of over 50 million birds nationwide hasn't been seen in months, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Friday that a different bird flu strain had been confirmed at a commercial turkey farm in southwestern Indiana.

Scott Ramsdell, the CEO of Dakota Layers, said his company has undergone an "extensive" process of cleaning and disinfecting its entire facility and that he's excited its eggs will soon be back in stores.

"It was a tough year. It was certainly tough for us as a company, but it was also tough for our employees and our customers," Ramsdell said.

Dakota Layers was the only egg-laying chicken operation to be affected in the state. All nine of the state's affected turkey farms had restocked by August.

Ramsdell said Dakota Layers has "bolstered every aspect of their biosecurity programs" in an effort to keeping their chickens and eggs safe.

"The risk of (Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza) will not go away, but we remain committed to producing and providing the best, safest eggs on the local market," he said.

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