In a WATT Poultry Chat video interview, Travis Schaal, director of global production with Hy-Line International, spoke with Egg Industry Managing Editor Deven King about what global business communication has looked like during the pandemic and how it may create more of a challenge for the current avian influenza outbreak.

KING: Travis, It's no secret that COVID has devastated people and businesses around the world. Could you explain how this is impacting communication and what would have been business as usual at Hy-Line International?

Schaal: Absolutely, so we usually travel a lot globally visiting our distribution hubs and customers. And of course, with COVID, we have not been able to do that, we still have our day-to-day business of getting our breeding stock to customers. And luckily, we have been able to make that our objective and really focus on keeping our staff safe and healthy to do so. But then we have replaced our traditional travel with meetings like this on zoom teams and GoToMeeting, and it has been quite effective. I think we miss interacting with our customers and with our colleagues. But this virtual format, at least the whole worlds involved in this now and we are getting pretty good at it, so it's been it's been quite a seamless transition to virtual meetings.

Travis Schaal

Travis Schaal, director of global production with Hy-Line International. | Courtesy Hy-Line International 

KING: On top of the worldwide pandemic, parts of the global poultry industry are experiencing an AI (Avian Influenza) outbreak, much like we saw in 2015. Can you talk about what challenges may occur with both issues in place or concerns you have related to the issues going forward?

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Schaal: What we worry about now with High Path AI in the European nations is overwhelming the resources. So, if people are working from home, if government agencies are slowed down because of COVID restriction, how are they going to respond to those outbreaks in a timely manner? There's a lot of stress involved in the day-to-day COVID response, let alone disease, animal disease outbreaks. So we're going to see potential overwhelming of resources, especially on the diagnostics, we see a lot of the PCR resources for sampling and testing of flocks being used for COVID response and testing. We just really feel for our European colleagues as they have to face a pandemic and the HPI outbreak that's currently happening.

KING: There's a lot of interesting information there. Travis, before we wrap things up, is there anything else you would like to add today?

Schaal: Yeah, I just like to give a big thank you to our human resources department here at Hy-Line International that have really been on the forefront of protecting our staff throughout this COVID outbreak. And then again, our hearts go out to the EU colleagues dealing with the HPAI, we have been there and hope we don't see a resurgence of that here in North America next year. But we wish them all the best.

This script was edited for length and clarity.