More bleat, less peep coming from the Wadena County Fair during poultry ban

But you can find barns full of equine, bovine, swine, goats, sheep and such spread throughout the fairgrounds.

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A lineup of sheep fills the show arena at the Wadena County Fair on Thursday, June 23, 2022.
Michael Johnson / Pioneer Journal
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WADENA — Wadena County having one the first fair events of the summer season has its perks.
Getting to show poultry during fair week is not one of them this year.

Minnesota currently has a ban on poultry events and exhibitions, which is set to expire on Friday, July 1. The Wadena County Fair started Wednesday, June 22, and is set to continue through Sunday, June 26. The Cass County Fair in nearby Pine River is going through a similar ruffling of feathers. The Minnesota Board of Animal Health announced the lifting of the ban on Wednesday, June 22.

That's not quite soon enough for poultry enthusiasts in the county who planned to show their birds on, Thursday, June 23, during the annual poultry show. It's normally an exciting show that includes chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese.
Instead, the show has shifted to 6 p.m., Tuesday, July 5, according to 4-H extension educator Kim Dailey. She expects about 50 birds will be part of the show.

4-H numbers saw a huge boost this year in Wadena County, with 212 kids showing animals this year out of 261 youth signed up for 4-H.

"This is the biggest it's been in 10 years," Dailey said.
Youth already went through interviews earlier this week to talk about their birds even though they had to keep the poultry on the farm. The move to a different date didn't have too many crowing about it as long as youth had a chance to show their hard work and compete for the best bird.


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Colton Huwe holds up his grand champion ribbon after showing his pig pickles in the Wadena County Fair on Thursday, June 23, 2022.
Michael Johnson / Pioneer Journal

The ban was put in place to help fight the highly pathogenic avian influenza, or HPAI, which 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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This chicken chase has taught me numerous things. One lesson is that no matter your age or experience you can use your voice to be an instrument for change.

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.

Jeff Beach, with AgWeek contributed to this article.

He's a writer, editor, photographer, truth seeker and promoter of the Wadena area.
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