a foie gras producer forced to stop due to bird flu

In Richebourg, near Chaumont, Florie Devilliers was hit hard by the avian flu epidemic. Due to the decrees for the slaughter of poultry farms in western France, no ducks have been delivered to him for three months. His business is at a standstill and should last.

He didn’t need it right now. It is on crutches that Florie Devilliers walks her farm in Richebourg, near Chaumont. The fault of a fractured toe last weekend while cleaning the manger on his farm. “It’s really the pompom”sums it up with a smile. Because bad news has been accumulating for the duck foie gras producer for several months.

At the end of last year, health authorities launched the alert for avian flu, more commonly known as avian flu. Whole poultry farms are to be slaughtered in western France and in particular in the Deux-Sèvres sector. This is where Florie Devilliers gets her young ducks. “My supplier works with duck farmers in western France and delivers the animals to me when they are twelve weeks old. It is from this moment that I take care of their force-feeding to produce my foie gras. But at the end of February the slaughter measures for these farms were decided and my supplier told me that he could no longer deliver me.

Since mid-March Florie Devilliers has not received the slightest bird and its business has therefore been suspended.. “I normally get a batch of 32 ducks every week. By mid-March I should therefore have received nearly 400 for force-feeding. That’s a third of what I usually get in a full year, but I haven’t received any. “

Stocks at Ferme d’Orchamps are at their lowest today. “Half of my product line is already sold out. I only have about 15% of my usual stock at this time of year. I sell all this little by little and afterwards I will have nothing more to sell “. The shop is normally open every Tuesday and Thursday and by appointment on Saturdays. It is now open by appointment only.

For the same reasons, the transformation laboratory operates in slow motion. Florie hasn’t produced boxes of foie gras or confit since mid-March. “I only do a few processing services in my workshop for breeders in the sector. It allows me to make pork terrines for example “. An activity that is anything but normal for the 38-year-old producer.

This situation is all the more dramatic for the producer as no short-term improvement is foreseeable. “For now, my supplier has offered me a batch of duck this summer and another one in the fall. They would be four or five week old ducks, so I would have had to feed them before I could force-feed them. Plus the prices exploded … I had to decline. And according to him the situation should not return to normal until September 2023 “.

Since April, Florie Devilliers has been working with a farmer close to her horticulture business. “I deal with salads, cucumbers … It’s nice to work with colleagues, it’s been a long time since this happened to me. And then it allows me to change my mind about what’s happening to me. Because I’m not exactly optimistic about my business. If the crisis ends well in September 2023, it will be a year and a half without activity … It’s really long “.

His horticultural work allows him to repay his bank loans for the time being. In the fall, he plans to find another long-term job. She is also waiting for answers from the administration to help her. “The Departmental Territories Directorate (DDT) continues to investigate my case, but in theory the bird flu benefits are reserved for breeders in the bird flu area, which is not my case. I am currently being offered a bank loan deferral, but I am not too interested. Either way, we feel they are listening. This week I meet Mutuelle Sociale Agricole, the director of the Chamber of Agriculture comes to visit me at the company … I find that the State, the veterinary services are very supportive, that there is someone behind it “.

A little hint of hope on this uncertain journey until September 2023. Florie Devilliers therefore hopes to resume a business that fascinated her when she started 11 years ago, unless another opportunity changes her career. “We will see, in any case, we will have to resist. There is no choice.”

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