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Avian Flu Leads to Mass Layoff at Major Egg Producer

Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch, the largest egg producer in Michigan, is letting about 400 workers go amid spread of virus.

Herbrucks Eggs
Herbruck's Poultry Ranch

Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch, one of the largest egg producers in the U.S., sent Michigan’s labor department a WARN notice that it would be laying off about 400 employees and contractors as avian influenza impacts its hen population. That’s more than one-third of Herbruck’s employees.

   Federal Government Pledges Close to $200M to Stop Spread of Avian Flu

This comes soon after the company suffered a loss of about 6.5 million egg layers after highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) was detected at its Green Meadow Organics facility in Saranac, Mich.

With the disruption in egg production, Herbruck’s is laying off employees at five facilities in Michigan—in Saranac and Lake Odessa, both of which are in Ionia County. Layoffs will occur for all range of departments—from accounting and human resources to processing and maintenance. The layoffs are expected to be mostly temporary, but in some cases will be permanent.

This is the first detection of HPAI in a commercial facility in Ionia County, but it comes at a time when the state is getting particularly hard hit by the virus—in both its hen and dairy cow populations.

   Dairy Cows Infect Person With Avian Flu

Michigan is also the site of a second human case of avian flu associated with the outbreak in dairy cows, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported this week. As was the situation with the first case, in Texas, the person infected worked on a dairy farm where avian flu had been detected in cows. Also similar to the Texas case, the person only reported eye symptoms, the CDC reports.

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