Our Board Member, Jan Sherwood works with Shekar Engineering, out of Des Moines Iowa. Below is about a project they received to help farmers recover and clean up after the effects of the Bird Flu.

Shekar Engineering, from Des Moines Iowa, has been in business since the 1990’s performing environmental consulting and construction services. In September, Shekar Engineering was awarded a contract with the USDA to work on turkey farms affected by bird flu in Sac, Buena Vista, and Cherokee counties. Each of the farms, consisting of four to five barns, lost turkey flocks consisting of as many as 40,000 birds earlier this year. Altogether, the various farms we worked on lost in total over 500,000 turkeys due to the strain of bird flu that was particularly virulent this year.

The USDA provided clean up services to remove the birds as well as clean and disinfect the barns while they were under quarantine. The birds were removed along with up to a foot of the clay soil floor in each turkey barn. The birds and contaminated soil were either composted on site, buried, or landfilled. The barns were sprayed with disinfectant and then underwent a period of several days of heating to kill the pathogens prior to replacement of the floors.

Our project was to replace the clay floors in each of the project’s 13 sites for a total of 56 barns. The clay was hauled utilizing semi tractors with side dump trailers from local sources of suitable sandy clay loam. The current estimate is that approximately 1000 loads or 15,000 cubic yards of soil will be used on the project. We are working on the last of the farms and are expecting to have it completed by November 16th.

In addition to operators and laborers, we had as many as 15 machines placing, grading and compacting the soil floors. The barn sites were each on a schedule for delivery of birds. Early in the project we were completing approximately ten barns per week to meet the schedule.

As we completed a farm, the USDA performed a final disinfection and repopulated the barns with young turkeys. The farmers having been devastated by the loss of birds and the extended length of time without turkeys were anxious to have the barns repopulated. Shekar Engineering was pleased to have been a part of this USDA project and it was very satisfying to see the turkeys in the barns as the project progressed.