Minnesota turkey farmers still reeling from the toll of bird flu as Thanksgiving approaches
November 7, 2022
MELROSE, Minn. - Chris Huisinga drives to Willmar every Monday from his turkey farm in western Minnesota. Riding shotgun in his pickup truck? Test tubes filled with tracheal swabs.
So far, he's avoided becoming a statistic: one of the 100-plus farms in Minnesota to get hit this year by highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), a plague that has devastated many turkey farmers for the second time in a decade, forcing them to euthanize 3.6 million birds in the state this year.
On the cusp of this year's Thanksgiving - when Americans gather around the bronze bird to debate politics, watch football and share thoughts of gratitude - Huisinga knows he's still only one vial away from losing everything.