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Minnesota ending ban on poultry exhibitions as avian flu cases subside

The announcement comes as fair season begins. Highly pathogenic avian influenza has affected almost 3 million birds on Minnesota farms in 2022.

Show chicken
Paul Johnson, left, has his show chicken examined by poultry judge Mark Jaeger during the opening day of the 2012 Kandiyohi County Fair. Minnesota has lifted its 2022 ban on poultry exhibitions, enacted because of highly pathogenic avian influenza, just in time for fair season.
Forum News Service file photo
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ST. PAUL — With almost a month since its last recorded case of avian influenza, Minnesota is ending its ban on poultry events and exhibitions beginning Friday, July 1.

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health announced the lifting of the ban on Wednesday, June 22.

Highly pathogenic avian influenza, or HPAI, has hit 80 sites in Minnesota, affecting almost 3 million birds. The last reported case in the state was on May 31 in a backyard flock in Becker County in northwest Minnesota.

Iowa, the state with the most cases in the 2022 outbreak with more than 13 million birds affected, announced earlier this month that it was ending its ban on poultry exhibitions.

North Dakota reported its last case on June 6 and South Dakota on May 20.

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North Dakota extended its exhibit ban on June 3, to be revisited in September.

Nationally, the bird flu has hit 372 flocks over 36 states, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, with more than 40 million birds affected.

Fair season reminders

The announcement in Minnesota comes as fair season is about to ramp up.

Board of Animal Health Interim State Veterinarian Dr. Linda Glaser said people exhibiting poultry and other livestock still to be mindful of biosecurity.

The state recommends keeping animals that are brought to a fair or exhibit isolated for 21 after being brought home after the event.

"That's not just this year, that is something we recommend all the time," Glaser said in an interview.

For those with livestock but who might be attending a fair, Glaser reminds them to change out of the shoes they wore at the fair before attending to their own livestock.

"We don't want to track anything back," she said.

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Glaser said that while the 2022 outbreak has affected more wild birds and hit more states nationally, Minnesota has done a better job of limiting farm-to-farm transmission.

The 2015 outbreak hit 110 Minnesota farms, affecting more than 9 million birds.

Permits

The exhibits bans were enacted as animal health officials responded to cases of avian flu this spring. It was extended twice because cases continued to pop up.

But with the warmer weather and bird migrations slowing, the risk of HPAI spreading has dropped enough to safely open up poultry events again, the Minnesota Board of Animal Health said in its news release.

Both Iowa and Minnesota require a permit to exhibit or sell poultry:

Reach Jeff Beach at jbeach@agweek.com or call 701-451-5651 (work) or 859-420-1177.
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