With the potential of another avian influenza outbreak looming this fall, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is working quickly to develop detailed plans to coordinate with state and local officials, as well as poultry farmers, to mitigate the potential impact of the disease, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said last week at a conference in Des Moines.

"There has not been an incident since mid-June, but the reality is that we need to plan for the worst and hope for the best for this fall," Vilsack said at the two-day conference about the avian flu outbreak sponsored by several poultry industry organizations. "We want to be ready to deal with the potential of a re-emergence in the 21 states that have already been impacted, and in new states as well."

Restocking beginning

Of the 211 infected commercial facilities nationwide, roughly 90 have finished their cleaning and disinfection efforts and about 70 are in the position of restocking, Vilsack said.

In Iowa, the state hit ...