Fire at Minnesota Poultry Farm Building Kills Tens of Thousands of Chickens

Part of a string of fires at food production plants across the country
By Allan Stein
Allan Stein
Allan Stein
Allan Stein is a national reporter for The Epoch Times based in Arizona.
June 2, 2022Updated: June 2, 2022

Tens of thousands of egg-laying chickens are estimated to have been killed in a barn fire on May 28 at one of Minnesota’s largest egg producers.

Wright County fire officials reportedly are still trying to determine the cause of the blaze at Forsman Farms that destroyed the building.

“We’re surveying the damage to see if there’s anything beyond the building” that suffered structural damage, company spokesman Jon Austin told The Epoch Times. “It’s a substantial facility with hundreds of thousands of chickens on-site.”

However, Forsman Farms plans to continue operating in other buildings on-site and five other locations throughout the upper Midwest to maintain egg production levels and supply.

Established in 1918, the Howard Lake facility is the company’s oldest, producing more than 3 million eggs per day.

The company operates with 30 to 40 employees, and none will be laid off because of the fire, Austin said.

Because of the highly infectious avian flu, it isn’t known when the company will be able to replace the chickens.

“That’s part of our evaluation process. That’s a factor to take into consideration. I don’t know [whether] I’ve got a hard number on when or how long,” Austin said.

There were no people hurt in the blaze, he added.

The poultry barn fire is the latest in a series of at least 17 unrelated fires at food and fertilizer production facilities since the start of 2022.

On May 26, a grain elevator fire destroyed the 100-year-old M & E Seed and Grain Co. in Prosser, Washington, and left one person with burns.

A Canadian Pacific Railway freight train carrying potash, which is used in fertilizer production, derailed in southern Alberta on May 22. The accident remains under investigation.

“If we’re part of a pattern, it’s not one that I’m aware of,” Austin said of the Forsman Farms blaze.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture didn’t respond by press time to a request for comment regarding the impact of the fires.