Mail delay blamed for uptick in turkey chick deaths

Bay Area

SONOMA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) – A slow down of operations at the US Postal Service is causing mail delays across the country but it’s not just paper mail and packages being held up — Bay Area farmers say the slowdown is costing them their livestock as well.

The US Postal Service is the only real option when it comes to transporting livestock and the owner of a small Sonoma County farm, says the slowdown of shipments is quite literally killing her turkey business.

“It took the turkey chicks so long to get here, they were half dead when I got them out of the box,” Anna Erickson, owner of Hands Full Farm in Valley Ford, said. 

For the last decade she has sold eggs and various meat at local farmer’s markets. 

Around this time every summer, she gears up for the Thanksgiving harvest and receives an overnight delivery of turkey chicks from a hatchery in Ohio. 

However, the delivery last week took three days to arrive. 

“It’s a living thing that has to get from point a to point b before it dehydrates or starves,” said Erickson. “As of this interview, I’ve lost 22 of them.”

Erickson says when all is said and done, it’s about a $2,000 loss for her small farm. 

“There just seems to be this sort of systematic lethargy that’s happening suddenly everywhere,” she said. 

The owner of Tara Firma Farms in Petaluma has noticed the same issue with their turkey chick delivery, which they say took five days to arrive. 

Earlier this week, House Democrats and several Republicans wrote letters to the Postmaster General urging him to reverse a July order that aimed to cut costs by eliminating overtime, which workers and union leaders say has in turn slowed down deliveries.

Erickson believes the baby turkey chicks, just couldn’t afford that much time in transit. 

“It’s both financial loss for my business and farm and life loss, which is really hard to deal with when the whole point of being a farmer is you care,” said Erickson. 

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