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October 6, 2022
Albany, NY

State Agriculture Commissioner Urges New York Poultry Farmers to Help Prevent Spread of Avian Influenza This Fall by Practicing Biosecurity Measures

State Agriculture Commissioner Urges New York Poultry Farmers to Help Prevent Spread of Avian Influenza This Fall by Practicing Biosecurity Measures
State Department of Agriculture and Markets and Cornell Cooperative Extension to Host Joint HPAI Webinar, Register Here

State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball today reminded New York poultry farmers to continue practicing biosecurity measures to prevent the spread of avian influenza, particularly during the upcoming fall migration season for birds. To date, eight flocks in New York have tested positive for HPAI, with the last detection being in a Fulton County flock on April 6. However, HPAI continues to be of concern in the wild bird population in New York State. The Department will be holding a joint informational webinar with Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Livestock Program Work Team to help poultry farmers learn more about HPAI and to prepare for the migration season.

“As we enter the fall migration season, it’s crucial that poultry farmers and owners check in with the practices they’re using to help prevent the spread of avian influenza,” said Commissioner Ball. “Fortunately, thanks to New York’s aggressive approach in response to outbreaks and the cooperation of poultry farmers across the state, we haven’t seen new cases since April. Still, we must continue to be vigilant and take these precautionary measures to protect our wildlife and our agricultural economy.”

Earlier this year, Commissioner Ball issued multiple bans on all live fowl shows and exhibitions in New York State to help prevent the spread of HPAI. The bans, which have all been lifted, were ordered following detections of strains of HPAI in New York State.

With fall migration season underway and the movement of wild birds, the Department is now encouraging all poultry producers to review their biosecurity plans and take precautions to protect their birds. Poultry biosecurity materials and checklists can be found on the USDA’s “Defend the Flock” website.

To prevent avian influenza from infecting poultry flocks in New York State, poultry producers should:

  • Discourage unnecessary visitors and using biosecurity signs to warn people not to enter buildings without permission;
  • Ask all visitors if they have had any contact with any birds in the past five days;
  • Forbid entry to employees and visitors who own any kind of fowl;
  • Require all visitors to cover and disinfect all footwear;
  • Lock all entrances to chicken houses after hours;
  • Avoid non-essential vehicular traffic on-farm;
  • Clean and disinfecting poultry transport coops and vehicles between hauling birds to processors and returning to the farm; and
  • Report anything unusual, especially sick or dead birds, to the State Department of Agriculture and Markets.

Visitors can help prevent the spread of HPAI by:

  • Never entering a poultry farm without permission;
  • Wearing clean clothes and shoes for any visit to a poultry farm;
  • Staying in the parking lot on arrival and calling for an escort onto the poultry farm;
  • Refraining from touching animals unless it's part of your job; and
  • Reporting anything unusual, especially sick or dead birds to the State Department of Agriculture and Markets.

Poultry owners should also take steps to reduce wild bird attractants by:

  • Storing poultry feed in covered containers. Be sure to clean up any feed spillage immediately;
  • Fencing off ponds where wild birds congregate and remove any areas of standing water;
  • Keeping poultry waste and carcasses securely covered at all times;
  • Refraining from walking or moving equipment through areas where waterfowl droppings may be present; and
  • Limiting outdoor access for poultry during high-risk periods, such as migration season.

The Department continues to work closely with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) on a joint incident response and is also collaborating with partners at the Department of Health and Department of Environmental Conservation. Additionally, Department officials have been reaching out to poultry and egg farms across the state to ensure best practices are being implemented. To contact the Department about a sick bird or an unusual bird death, please call (518) 457-3502.

HPAI Webinar

In addition to practicing biosecurity measures, poultry farmers and those who work with live poultry are invited to join Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Livestock Program Work Team and the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets’ Zoom Webinar event on Wednesday, October 12 from 7:00pm-8:00pm.  The event will cover more about HPAI, what is known so far about the current outbreak, and how to prepare moving into the fall migration season.

To register for the event, please visit https://www.tinyurl.com/HPAIFall22. The presentation will be recorded for those who are not able to attend the meeting and will be automatically sent to those who have registered.

State Veterinarian Dr. Joy Bennett said, “The best approach to combatting avian influenza outbreaks is vigilance and precaution.  We will continue to do all we can at the Department to protect New York’s flocks from exposure and urge all poultry owners to do the same by practicing critical preventative measures. If you have any questions about biosecurity or how best to keep your flocks safe, please contact the Department.”

HPAI is still circulating in the US. So far, there have been 490 reported outbreaks across 40 states, affecting nearly 47 million birds nationally. As the fall migration season begins, cases in both commercial and backyard flocks are increasing.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the public health risk associated with these avian influenza detections remains low.