The Illinois Department of Agriculture has canceled junior and open live poultry shows at the 2022 Illinois State Fair to protect birds from avian influenza.
“The department works year-round to promote biosecurity for all livestock producers. With the current situation, it remains important for all of us to be responsible and protect against the spread of avian influenza during the Illinois State Fair and county fairs,” says Dr. Mark Ernst, IDOA state veterinarian.
This comes following a series of emergency rules on April 5 and May 20 that halted poultry shows and sales across the state. The emergency rule prohibits the sale or exhibition of poultry and poultry products at swap meets, exhibitions, flea markets and auction markets in Illinois to prevent the spread of avian influenza.
Lisa Diaz, Illinois 4-H director, says the University of Illinois has partnered with IDOA to help reduce risk and give young people an opportunity to compete through a virtual poster competition. Young people can find rules and requirements at illinoisstatefair.info. They’ve also pushed entry deadlines back to July 15 for all junior poultry exhibitors to allow time to adapt to the new format.
Diaz says 4-H and its members have plenty of experience in pivoting competitions, pointing to the more than 400 virtual events across the state 4-H held during the pandemic.
“It is our commitment that 4-H youth will still have an opportunity to exhibit, win premiums and get judged with their 4-H poultry project this year — it will just be in a virtual manner, which has proved successful in the early part of the county fair season,” says Dan Jennings, University of Illinois Extension 4-H livestock specialist.
Many county fair 4-H junior poultry shows started the season with a virtual format, and that will continue throughout the entire county fair season. In those formats, young people demonstrate their project through posters or virtual exhibits.
If you’re a flock owner, manager or veterinarian and you observe an increase in mortality, decrease in water consumption, decrease in egg production, or respiratory signs including coughing and sneezing, please call IDOA at 217-782-4944 or USDA at 866-536-7593.ho