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State's largest commercial egg producer to lay off half its workforce

Chickens on Organic Farm.
Megan Sprague
Michigan Department of Agriculture
Chickens on Organic Farm.

Saranac-based Herbruck Poultry Ranch produces 50 million eggs each week. In early April, that production was impacted by the detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza. The HPAI cause severe illness, and within days can wipe out entire flocks.

Herbruck’s is working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development. Its complying with protocols and disinfecting its facilities. The company says its focused on preserving a fresh egg supply by what it calls its “unaffected farms and our supplier network.”

But on Thursday, Herbruck’s – which employs 1,000 workers - filed a notice of layoffs and closures with the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity declaring 400 layoffs.

In a statement to WGVU, Greg Herbruck, CEO of Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch said, "In the face of ongoing efforts to address the detection of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza alongside state and federal regulators, Herbruck’s has reached the difficult decision to conduct layoffs at the affected facilities where work is not available. We expect this to largely be temporary, as we plan to rehire many positions as we work to repopulate our facilities and continue egg production as safely and quickly as possible.”

The Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development has detected “bird flu” among cattle and poultry populations spanning 10 counties.