AMES, Iowa — On March 23, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship announced an order suspending all live bird exhibitions at fairs and other gatherings due to highly pathogenic avian influenza. The order is effective immediately for a minimum of 30 days, and until 30 days have passed without a positive case of a new infection in the state of Iowa.
In addition, the Iowa Poultry Association recommended that bird exhibitions be cancelled in the state.
“Youth gain many positive skills by exhibiting in 4-H animal project areas, and our priority is always to create safe, quality fair experiences for them,” said Mike Anderson, state agriculture and natural resources program manager with Iowa 4-H Youth Development, part of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.
“As was the case in 2015 when all poultry exhibitions were cancelled for county and state fairs, 4-H sprang into action to create hands-on, educational learning opportunities such as poster presentations and cooking competitions around the poultry project area. We will be ready to do the same this year if faced with that situation,” Anderson said.
“Regarding the Iowa State Fair 4-H Market Broiler show, those entries are due May 1 via fair entry. We will continue to proceed with opening up entry and will monitor the situation if entry refunds need to be issued as we move ahead in the coming months,” Anderson added.
Anderson said 3,500 youth are enrolled in the 4-H poultry project area, which helps youth learn about poultry from the egg to the table. Youth learn the basic principles of animal science by owning, caring for and keeping records on one or more head of poultry. They explore sound breeding, feeding and management practices and also investigate current issues in the industry and careers in the poultry business. Poultry resources for youth are available from the 4-H Youth Development Website.
— Iowa State University Extension and Outreach