PA Agriculture Department Suspends Avian Competitions, Activities
As the threat of highly pathogenic avian influenza, or H5N2, intensifies nationwide, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is continuing efforts to minimize the risk of the disease spreading here, should it be found. As such, acting Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding announced today that the department is suspending all avian competitions at state-approved agricultural fairs in 2015, as well as the 2016 Pennsylvania Farm Show.


In 2014, the poultry and egg industry was responsible for $13 billion in total economic activity throughout Pennsylvania, according to the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association. With this in mind, Redding said proactive precautionary measures are necessary to protect the industry and animal health.


“This is not a decision we made lightly, but it is one that we feel is necessary given the threat,” Redding said. “Across the country, 145 flocks have tested positive for this disease. This strain has killed or forced producers to euthanize 15 million birds. The effect has been devastating, and we do not want to see the same kind of impact here in Pennsylvania.”


Avian influenza, commonly known as “bird flu,” is caused by an influenza type-A virus. Avian influenza viruses occur naturally in birds. Wild bird species (such as ducks, swans and geese) can carry the virus, but usually do not exhibit symptoms. The disease is very contagious, however, and can make domesticated birds (including chickens, ducks, quail, pheasants, guinea fowl and turkeys) very sick or even cause death.


The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is working proactively with the United States Department of Agriculture (UDSA), other government agencies, and the state's poultry industry to prepare for an outbreak of H5N2. The most important prevention technique is for anyone who owns or works with poultry to apply sound biosecurity measures – whether on a commercial farm, in the wild, or at a hobby/backyard farm.


The department is requesting that fairs put in place alternative poultry-based competitions to highlight the accomplishments of youth poultry competitors. Penn State Extension has recommended establishing educational poster competitions or birdless showmanship to keep youth engaged in the poultry industry and provide a solution for completing their poultry projects.


“We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, as the 2015 agricultural fair season is underway,” Redding said. “The purpose of this action is not to disturb regular agricultural fair practices, but to take proactive steps to reduce the risks of avian influenza spreading. The department will continue to monitor the situation as it develops, and we will remain in contact with the agricultural fairs’ management and Penn State Extension educators to make the best recommendations possible. While avian influenza has not yet impacted Pennsylvania, we are doing everything possible to be prepared.”


Since December 2014, the USDA has confirmed cases of H5N2 in the Pacific, Central and Mississippi migratory bird paths. No highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses have been detected in Pennsylvania since an outbreak in 1983 and 1984, when Pennsylvania lost 17 million birds worth $65 million.


For additional information about avian influenza, call the department’s Bureau of Animal Health and Diagnostic Services at 717-787-4734.


For more information about bio-security measures, visit

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Understanding How the Veterinary Feed Directive Affects Your Agribusiness - June 10
On Wednesday, June 10, PennAg will host an event titled, "Understanding How the Veterinary Feed Directive Affects Your Agribusiness." To be held in the Delaware Room of the Keystone Conference Center, PA Farm Show Complex, the event will include presentations and a question/answer session from the following agribusiness sectors: swine industry/veterinarian; pharma/manufacturer; feed mill/poultry; and state regulatory. Each speaker will provide information as to:

• How the Veterinary Feed Directive is causing changes within their sector;

• How they are communicating those changes to their customers; and

• What advice for they have for customers/producers.

The event is free of charge. Pre-registration by June 3 is appreciated. Contact Amy Bradford ( or Melissa Sankey ( to pre-register, or complete and return registration form.

Golf Outing & Grain Meeting - June 23
Join us on June 23 for the annual Feed, Grain & Allied Industry Council Golf Outing & Grain Meeting! The event will be held at Four Seasons Golf Club, Landisville, PA, beginning with registration and lunch at 11 a.m.

The Grain Meeting will include a presentation by Bill Kirk, focusing on Weather Trends 360. Bill is CEO and Co-founder of Weather Trends International, and with 26 years of experience, has a contagious passion for applying year-ahead business weather guidance and predictive analytics to help Fortune 1,000 companies achieve better business in any weather. Bill has published several business-weather and technical reports identifying winning strategies to capitalize on the weather, and has identified how weather influences retail sales and the overall economy. Weather Trends helps any business big or small become PROACTIVE vs REACTIVE to achieve better business in any weather up to a year ahead...everywhere in the world!

Weather Trends forecast year-ahead weekly temperature and precipitation trends for millions of locations covering the globe and quantify exactly how that affects thousands of seasonal categories and weather sensitive businesses. Weather Trends helps eliminate some of Mother Nature’s surprises in your life and business.


Download a registration form today or register online to provide a sponsorship or register your foursome!

North American Manure Expo - July 14 - 15
The 2015 North American Manure Expo themed, "Professionalism in Nutrient Management," will be held July 14-15 in Chambersburg, PA. For additional information or to register online, please visit

PennAg Agronomic Products Council / Seed Council Summer Tour - August 13
The PennAg APC/Seed Council Summer Tour will be held Thursday, August 13. Visiting Furmano's in Northumberland, Pennsylvania, and Boyd Station in Danville, Pennsylvania, the event is sure to please! Save the date and stay tuned for further information and registration details!


May 19

OSHA Compliance Safety Seminar

(Hershey/Harrisburg Sheraton)


May 20

Poultry Health Committee Meeting

9:30 a.m.

(Room 309, PA Dept. of Agriculture)


May 25

Memorial Day

(PennAg Office Closed)

June 12

PennAg FGAI Executive Committee Meeting

9 a.m.

(PennAg Office)

June 16

PennAg Transportation Committee Meeting

10 a.m.


June 18

PennAg APC Executive Committee Meeting

2 p.m.

(PennAg Office)

June 24

Poultry Council Executive Committee Meeting

9 a.m.

(Giant Super Food Store, Harrisburg) 


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