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Ag Dept Hosts Avian Flu Info Meetings For Backyard Poultry Farmers

A picture of a chicken.
Emilian Robert Vicol
Agriculture experts warn that blackyard pultry farms might be the first exposed to avian flu if it arrives in North Carolina.

The North Carolina Agriculture Department has begun hosting avian flu informational meetings for people with backyard poultry operations.

If avian flu comes to the state, agriculture experts say backyard poultry will likely be the first to encounter the contagious and fatal disease because these flocks tend to live outdoors and use unprotected water sources.

"These flocks appear to be more susceptible to infection simply because of their exposure," said Charlie Tyson, director of the Nash County Cooperative Extension. "Our commercial flocks of poultry are housed in poultry houses and are not as exposed."

Nash which will host an informational meeting on avian flu risks and prevention options Thursday, September 3. It's one of five regional meetings planned to educate backyard poultry farmers.

State Ag Department spokesman Brian Long is also encouraging small poultry farmers to register their operations, so they can receive guidance and updates about bird flu occurrences.

"We want to make sure that everyone's informed and understands the importance of biosecurity measures they can take on their farms and ways that they can help to either prevent it, and if not prevent it from coming, at least mitigate the impacts," Long said.

Despite skeptics' claims that bird flu fears are overblown, Long says poultry flocks in Minnesota and Iowa have been decimated in the past year.

"We would like nothing better than to come through the winter and enter next spring and realize that we were over-prepared," says Long.

Information about bird safety, the state poultry operation registry, and and other meetings is on the state Ag Department avian flu web page.

People interested in attending information meetings are asked to pre-register here.

  • Sept. 1, Guilford County Center, 3309 Burlington Road, Greensboro
    Contact: Karen Neill, 336-641-2400
  • Sept. 2, Union County Center, 3230 Presson Road, Monroe
    Contact: Kelly Liddington, 704-283-2801
  • Sept. 4, Nash County Center, 1006 Eastern Ave., Nashville
    Contact: Charlie Tyson, 252-459-9810
  • Sept. 8, Duplin County Center, 165 Agriculture Dr., Kenansville
    Contact: Amanda Hatcher, 910-296-2143
  • Sept. 11, Burke County Center, 130 Ammons Dr., Morganton
    Contact: Spring Williams, 828-439-4460

Correction: This story has been updated to state that Iowa has seen cases of avian flu, not Ohio.

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