The Hormel division says the flu that's ravaged Minnesota turkey flocks leaves fewer birds to process. Layoffs start May 26.
Producers have lost millions from the spreading H5N2 virus. Farmers are keeping almost constant watch over their birds, supporting each other and wondering which farm will be next.
Scientists believe ducks and geese carried the disease into the state. But state officials say the flu hasn't turned up in any of the 2,200 fecal samples they've examined.
After a visit Saturday to the hardest hit-region of the state, Dayton, Sen. Al Franken and U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson pledged their help for hard-pressed farmers.
Officials say 2.6 million of 15 million turkeys have been lost to avian flu, or 17 percent of birds in production.
Authorities hope that fecal samples from waterfowl and other wild birds might provide clues to the mysterious spread of the virus.
In their search, investigators are particularly interested in dead birds of certain species, including hawks and eagles.
Gov. Dayton wants all Minnesota farmers to keep a 50-foot buffer along streams and lakes. Some farmers say that will take money out of their pockets.
Meanwhile, Minnesota crop farmers saw their incomes drop last year by almost two-thirds.
Farmers are taking new steps to prevent the infection from spreading to other flocks.
The state-sponsored program that offers mediation between farmers and lenders has seen its caseload double this year.
After several profitable years, dairy farmers are seeing their bull market crash.
Earlier this month, state officials announced that the H5N2 virus had killed 15,000 turkeys on a Pope County farm.
To settle a federal lawsuit, Gaylord and Sibley County officials agreed to pay $20,000 each to Jesus Manuela Mendoza Sierra. Officials also agreed to recruit minorities and Spanish speakers.
Minnesota corn farmers are expected to lose money this year. That's causing a lot of concern among farmers as they negotiate spring planting loans with lenders.