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Minnesota Turkey Farmer Shares Story Of Stress, Hope

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Minnesota turkey farmers are on edge, trying to stop the spread of an avian flu that's killed millions of birds.

Scott Heymer is the owner of Red Bridge Farms in Princeton. He's been in the turkey business for nearly 40 years, with about 60,000 turkeys on his farm.

So far, he's been spared, but he's not taking any chances.

"I just imagine the scenario every day. It goes through my mind, what would happen if the bug hits me, and the ramifications and what it would cost," Heymer said.

He says with more than three million birds dead so far, there is likely to be a shortage of turkeys next fall.

And while it's good to have support from the government, he believes the producers need to step in as well.

"When it comes to the turkey industry, we are number one and it would be very damaging for these farm families not to continue," he said.

Heymer is on the board of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association. He is a third-generation turkey farmer, and his 93-year-old father, Jim, is still active on the farm.

"There has never been anything as devastating as this right now in the state of Minnesota," he said.

Heymer produces six million pounds of live turkey ever year.

"We are providing turkey meat for 282, 308 people every year," he said.

As of last check, 67 farms have been hit in 19 counties.

Heymer says it could take up to two years before the industry gets back to normal.

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