DATELINE: Eagle Grove, Iowa
Daybreak Chicken Farm in Wright County, one of the facilities hit by the avian influenza, create a black fly infestation in the surrounding areas.
20 years ago, Daryl and Melodie Roberts purchased an acreage on the south side of Eagle Grove, Iowa as a place to raise their children and someday retire. About fifteen years ago, Daybreak Chicken Farm opened a chicken confinement facility approximately five miles southwest of the Roberts acreage as the crow flies. As Daybreak got their operations up and running, the number of black flies in the area increased.
About five years ago, Daybreak expanded their operations and the black fly problem grew right along with it. It has gotten to the point where families within a five mile radius of Daybreak Chicken Farm cannot enjoy the spring, summer and fall months out of doors because the flies have become an infestation. Not only do the flies attach themselves to everything out of doors, they get into the homes and vehicles and everywhere else too.
Daryl has spoken to the manager of the farm, who although managing a chicken farm in Iowa, has a phone number out of Idaho and Daryl is under the impression that the manager lives in Idaho too. Every time he has called to complain, the manager gives lip service claiming they will deal with it, but nothing ever happens.
Daryl has also gone to the county board of supervisors where the results are the same; a lot of talk and for the most part no action. Daryl has said that people have come out and sprayed but if you only spot spray one area, it does not take long for more to move in.
Daryl says the quality of life has gone to zero. His kids and grandchildren don’t like to visit because of the pesky flies. Daryl also says they cannot even sell and move away from the problem because no one who saw how thick the flies are would want to buy the place.
Within the last month, the spread of Avian Flu caught up to the Daybreak Chicken Farm and with the destruction of the birds there, the black fly infestation will get worse before it gets better, if it ever does get better.
Daryl approached me about putting the word out to the local news stations to see if someone will bring this to the public attention. I have shared Daryl’s story with the local stations and now share it here to spread the word even further.
Too many corporate farms are maximizing their profit potential without regard to those who have to live in the area. It’s time to stop this activity.