Bird flu pushes business to East Tennessee.turkey farmer

Rowan, Tennessee (WVLT) – Bird flu killed 7.1 million turkeys this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. With Thanksgiving just over two weeks away, small farms are filling the void left by larger stores.

“It’s been a pretty good season. They’re doing well. I’m an experienced grower, so I don’t usually have a lot of problems with them,” said Tracy Monday, owner of Enlightenment Acres.

Monday’s farm is about to have a great holiday. He has 65 turkeys. Many of them have already been sold. “I’m seeing a steady increase in customers,” said Monday. “I think a lot of people are staying away from grocery stores.”

He attributes some of the farm’s growth to bird flu and industrial farming practices. Industrial farms have been known to overfeed turkeys with steroids and keep them in confinement, reports Monday.

“There have been outbreaks of bird flu in many commercial flocks. This has really reduced the number of turkeys people find on supermarket and major grocery store shelves,” said Nick Carter, CEO and co-founder of Market Wagon.

“The same disease doesn’t affect local small ranch-raised flocks in the same way, so our local farmers are sitting here and there’s a lot of turkeys that people are scrambling to find,” Carter said.

Prices for turkeys this year were raised on Monday due to higher feed prices, but overall, global supply chain issues have not affected Enlightenment Acres.

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