- Associated Press - Thursday, December 29, 2016

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The head of Iowa’s agriculture department says the state is recovering from the loss of millions of laying hens caused by the 2015 bird flu outbreak.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey says Iowa’s egg production in October was roughly 1.30 billion eggs, up more than 70 percent from the same time last year. The average number of laying hens on hand in October was roughly 53 million, up 55 percent from last year.

Recent federal data shows Iowa’s egg production was slightly down in November, though the number of laying hens on hand was slightly up. The 2015 bird flu outbreak resulted in the death of more than 30 million Iowa laying hens.

Northey says in an end-of-the-year news release that farmers continue to struggle with crop profitability, but agricultural exports remain strong.

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