Secretary Naig Provides Update on Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Response Measures within Iowa, Announces New Dairy Exhibition Requirements

DES MOINES, Iowa (June 25, 2024) – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today provided an update on Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) state response measures, including announcing new testing requirements for dairy cattle participating in Iowa fairs and exhibitions. He also reiterated his request to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for resources for impacted farmers, and extended his appreciation to Iowa farmers for their cooperation with testing and research efforts that are increasing the broader understanding of this virus. 

“Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza isn’t just a poultry issue or a dairy issue, it’s an issue for all of agriculture. Our approach is reflective of our significant livestock industry, and I want to thank our farmers who have stepped up to help contribute to the broader understanding, visibility and knowledge of this virus,” said Secretary Naig. “We should expect additional challenges ahead and as the situation continues to evolve, we will also continue to evaluate our response. We continue to support our farmers through the joint state and federal response team who are navigating this evolving and unpredictable situation.”

Dairy Exhibitions and Fairs
To help minimize the potential spread of virus, dairy exhibitors will be required to submit additional tests before their dairy cattle can be transported to a show. The Department is announcing an order for fairs and exhibitions that will go into effect on July 1, 2024. The order will require dairy exhibitors participating in Iowa fairs or exhibitions to complete testing for HPAI within 7 days of moving to the exhibition. The statewide order can be viewed on the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s website. 

“The Department is issuing a statewide order effective July 1 that will require additional tests for HPAI prior to dairy cattle participating at our state’s many fairs and exhibitions,” said Secretary Naig. “We want to strike a balance between allowing our 4-H, FFA, and dairy exhibitors the opportunity to show their animals, while also requiring additional testing to protect our livestock and minimize the potential spread of the virus.” 

Response Measures

Testing Update
Following the announcement made on June 7 of additional HPAI response measures in Iowa, including the required testing of dairy herds within a 20-kilometer radius around infected poultry farms, the quantity of tests has been ramping up. Additionally, farmers outside of testing radiuses have also been submitting tests for their herds. Iowa has detected additional positive tests because of increased testing, and it is likely that we will continue to report new positives as more tests are conducted. The Department encourages dairy farms not subject to mandatory testing to continue to voluntarily participate in testing to help with the broader research effort. Farms with cattle displaying clinical signs are required to report them. While the final details are still pending, the Department encourages Iowa farmers to participate in USDA’s voluntary herd status program. 

Epidemiological Strike Teams
USDA has authorized additional epidemiological strike teams to assist with impacted poultry and dairy farms in Iowa. Researchers have been on the ground in Iowa over the past few weeks conducting interviews, looking for links between cases, and trying to better understand how the virus may have been introduced into the flocks and herds. Investigations are ongoing and are intended to result in specific biosecurity recommendations that can help farmers and producers better protect their livestock going forward. 

USDA Wildlife Services
USDA Wildlife Services personnel continue to work with impacted farms to assist in the surveying of disease in wildlife around Iowa poultry and dairy facilities. From wild birds to rodents, these professionals are capturing wildlife samples for testing to determine the degree to which the virus is present in wildlife on these farms. These investigations, which are ongoing, are helping to inform biosecurity recommendations as well as aid in epidemiological investigations.

Further Research
In addition to research conducted through genomic sequencing, herd testing, wildlife surveys, epidemiological investigations and much more, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is also coordinating with USDA and the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine to set up longer-term research studies to help learn more about the impact of this virus and how best to mitigate it.

Request for USDA Resources for Impacted Farmers
On June 7, Secretary Naig made several of requests of USDA to support impacted dairy and poultry farmers. Conversations are continuing, but as of June 25, USDA has not yet made any final decisions regarding Secretary Naig’s requests. These requests included compensation for cull dairy cattle at fair market value, compensation for lost milk production at a minimum 90 percent of fair market value, revisions to poultry indemnity tables to better reflect the fair market value of impacted birds and/or eggs, and a streamlined and timely process for farmers to be compensated for lost production and to receive indemnity. Secretary Naig will continue to request assistance for affected livestock producers.

“By cooperating with testing protocols, welcoming epidemiological researchers, coordinating with USDA Wildlife Service professionals and many other steps, our farmers are helping to provide valuable information that will assist the industry well beyond Iowa’s borders,” said Secretary Naig. “In recognition of the significant disruptions and production losses this virus is causing, and because they are working with researchers during this stressful time, dairy and poultry farmers should receive financial assistance from USDA. Many of these same farms are now also contending with significant and devasting flooding.”

About HPAI
HPAI is a viral disease that affects both wild and domestic bird populations as well as lactating dairy cattle. HPAI can travel in wild birds without those birds appearing sick, but is often fatal to domestic bird populations, including chickens and turkeys. With supportive care, dairy cattle recover with little to no mortality associated with the disease. 

Iowa Cases
To date, Iowa has announced eleven positive cases of HPAI within dairy herds in Iowa. Nine of the cases have been detected in Sioux County, with one case each in O’Brien and Plymouth Counties. Iowa has had three poultry cases thus far in 2024, including one case in a commercial chicken layer in Sioux County and two cases in commercial turkey flocks. One of the turkey flocks is located in Cherokee County while the other is located in Sac County. 

Heightened Biosecurity  
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is strongly encouraging Iowa poultry producers and dairy farmers to bolster their biosecurity practices and protocols to protect their flocks and herds. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has biosecurity recommendations for dairy herds to utilize. In addition, the Department has numerous other biosecurity resources for poultry producers and livestock farms to reference on its website. Farmers or farm workers who interact regularly with both dairy and poultry or who interact frequently with other farm workers in poultry or dairy, should take extra precautions to limit possible transmissions. 

Suspected Cases in Dairy 
If dairy producers suspect cases of HPAI, they should contact their herd veterinarian immediately. Positive cases must also be reported to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship at (515) 281-5305. 
Clinical signs of HPAI in dairy may include: 
•    Decrease in food consumption with a simultaneous decrease in rumination 
•    Clear nasal discharge 
•    Drop in milk production 
•    Tacky or loose feces 
•    Lethargy 
•    Dehydration 
•    Fever 
•    Thicker, concentrated, colostrum-like milk 
Suspected Cases in Poultry 
If poultry producers or those with backyard birds suspect signs of HPAI, they should contact their veterinarian immediately. Positive cases must also be reported to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship at (515) 281-5305. 
Clinical signs of HPAI in birds may include:  
•    Sudden increase in bird deaths without any clinical signs 
•    Lethargy and/or lack of energy and appetite 
•    Decrease in egg production 
•    Soft, thin-shelled and/or misshapen eggs 
•    Swelling of the head, eyelids, comb, wattles, and hocks 
•    Purple/blue discoloration of the wattles, comb, and legs 
•    Difficulty breathing 
•    Coughing, sneezing, and/or nasal discharge (runny nose) 
•    Stumbling and/or falling down 
•    Diarrhea 
Food Safety 
There is no concern about the safety of pasteurized milk or dairy products. Pasteurization has continually proven to successfully inactivate bacteria and viruses, like influenza, in milk. It remains safe to enjoy poultry products. As a reminder, consumers should always properly handle and cook eggs and poultry products, including cooking to an internal temperature of 165˚F. 
Public Health 
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) continues to believe the threat to the general public remains low. Any questions related to public health should be directed to the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services at

List of Confirmed Cases
As HPAI detections are confirmed by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) in Ames, those cases are added to tracking websites located on the USDA APHIS website


About the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship

Led by Secretary Mike Naig, the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship serves the rural and urban residents that call Iowa home. Through its 14 diverse bureaus, the Department ensures animal health, food safety and consumer protection. It also promotes conservation efforts to preserve our land and enhance water quality for the next generation. Learn more at

Media Contact:
Don McDowell
Communications Director