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Avian Influenza Disease causes ban

Last Tuesday the Ohio Department of Agriculture announced a statewide ban on all poultry shows in 2015 throughout Ohio. This ban means no poultry (basically anything with wings and or feathers) at the Ohio State Fair, all county fairs, swap meets, auctions, etc.

This is a major issue for the Poultry Industry in the United States. This is by far the worst outbreak in the US. Ohio took a step to attempt to protect the Ohio Poultry Industry from the spread of this deadly problem. I found out Michigan has now been confirmed with a positive find in a wild Canada goose.

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, which is part of the United States Department of Agriculture, is involved dealing with this outbreak. The following is a brief explanation about Avian Flu from the APHIS webpage. (www.aphis.usda.gov). This page has a link for updates and additional information about Avian Influenza.

Worldwide, there are many strains of avian influenza (AI) virus that can cause varying degrees of clinical illness in poultry. AI viruses can infect chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quail, ducks, geese and guinea fowl, as well as a wide variety of other birds. Migratory waterfowl have proved to be a natural reservoir for the less infectious strains of the disease.

AI viruses can be classified as highly pathogenic (HPAI) or low pathogenic (LPAI) strains based on the severity of the illness they cause. HPAI is an extremely infectious and fatal form of the disease that, once established, can spread rapidly from flock to flock and has also been known to affect humans. LPAI typically causes only minor illness, and sometimes manifests no clinical signs. However, some LPAI virus strains are capable of mutating under field conditions into HPAI viruses.

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) works to keep HPAI from becoming established in the U.S. poultry population.

As far as Ohio and the Poultry Industry, there have been no positive finds in the state at the time I am writing this on June 9. The statewide ban is an attempt to reduce the risk of this devastating disease from impacting Ohio. The following is part of the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s News Release.

Ohio is the second largest egg producer in the country and home to 28 million laying chickens, 12 million broilers, 8.5 million pullets and two million turkeys. Ohio’s egg, chicken and turkey farms employ more than 14,600 jobs and contribute $2.3 billion to the state’s economy. Ohio’s role in national poultry production is even greater considering the loss that other major poultry states are experiencing.

“One of the ways avian influenza spreads is by direct contact with contaminated materials coming from other infected birds. This means that exhibitions, auctions and swap meets where birds are co-mingling pose a high risk of unintentionally spreading this disease. Until we can be sure that there has been no transference from the wild bird population migrating through the state, we need to do all we can to minimize the exposure for our domestic birds,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Tony Forshey.

Locally, there have been several meetings with Jr. Fairboards, Senior Fairboards, OSU Extension, and Advisors involving 4-H, FFA and other youth members who may have poultry projects this year. Discussion has been geared toward what changes will be put in place to permit members to complete their poultry projects at the local county fair without birds on the grounds. Remember there will be NO BIRDS at the fair. This will vary from county to county as the projects are at different stages of completion with fair dates all being different. All club and chapter advisors should be aware of those changes at this time, or very soon. Contact local Advisors or your county OSU Extension Educator for 4-H if you have further questions.

Report Wildlife Damage

Last week I talked about reporting damage caused by wildlife to the proper agencies so we can continue to compile much needed data. I want to keep driving this point home, so keep it up.

I am not sure to what extent, but I can tell you that the issue with Black Vultures has been discussed in Congress. I am not sure of all of the details, but there has been discussion and there has also been discussion involving American Farm Bureau.

Again, we need data to help get something changed about what can be done with this problem. If you have livestock killed or other damage please report it. In Adams County report it to Bill Wickerham at 937-544-1010, in Brown report to Danielle Thompson at 937-378-4424, and in Highland report to the FSA Office at 937-393-1921. Keep in mind, the 2014 Farm Bill has language that may have financial support for damage caused by wildlife that is Federally Protected, so please make the call. You can also contact your local Wildlife Officer.

Dates to remember:

July 7 — Southern Ohio Ag and Community Development Foundation (SOACDF) informational meeting, Cherry Fork Community Center (Gym) 10 a.m.

July 9 — SOACDF informational meeting, Southern Hills Career Center in Georgetown (Hamer Road and US 68) at 6:30 p.m.

July 12-18 — Adams County Fair

July 13 — Pesticide Testing at the Old Y Restaurant at noon. Pre-register at http://pested.osu.edu or call 1-800-282-1955 and go to Pesticide Regulations.

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