needed about three to four more weeks before they were ready for market. To look at the birds they were perfectly happy.
FM: Oh yeah. Just open the door and they’d come running to you they were just nice and clean. They had a snick, just a little snick. We knew they had the virus because everybody had the virus, but they won’t kill them until they test positive, and that’s a big deal. They test and they test and they test and they test and finally, if one bird tests positive they kill them all and that’s kind of what you have to wait for and it was kind of depressing to have to wait because you knew it was there. It’s kind of hard to test for it.
MC: Okay. How so?
FM: It gets into, I don’t know, you need to ask somebody who works in a lab, but it’s not a yes or no it seems like. Or it’s not cut and dry, it’s I don’t know if they have to grow a culture and look at it or what. But it’s something, I mean you just can’t take the blood and stick it under a microscope and say yes they’ve got it! There gets to be conflicting reports, you know. But once they get the positive, that’s when the USDA comes in and they basically take over.
MC: I see. So what was it like, I assume you were seeing other farmers having outbreaks and having their poultry houses cleared out. And were you just waiting knowing that it was going to happen?
FM: Oh yeah. It was just frustrating. Very frustrating. Because we knew, I mean, I know most of the poultry growers in the Valley. I mean we’re all in the same business. We communicate. I had many, many conversations on the phone getting other growers to describe to me exactly how the birds acted and you know I knew I had it. The USDA knew we had it. It wouldn’t come up positive. We got a positive on three houses and they came n a killed them. No, we got a positive on two houses, they came in and killed them and it was 3 weeks later before the others showed up positive. The avian flu outbreak back in Sugar Grove, it was Jeff Bowers, they got a positive test before any birds are slaughtered, chickens or turkeys, they do a blood test and they do a fat test. They actually kill one of the birds or several birds. I think they have to do three and they take a fat sample and this is for your protection. They do a lab, they check it in the lab to make sure everything is okay. One of those tests came back positive, they thought. So they came out and tested again and they all tested back negative. They came back and tested again and
they found a positive. So what that does, is just for, those birds could have been okay, but you don’t want to take a chance of anything. What happens in that is it gets into sales.
FM: If you’re exporting meat, other countries do not want to import any bird or any product that is wrong or has got a disease, the same way we don’t want to import anything that could be contaminated. So basically, these birds, we went ahead and put