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Avian Influenza

Cathy Wallace, Administrative Assistant
Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops

April 14, 2015

New York State Veterinarian Dr. David Smith today reminded New York’s poultry industry to practice good biosecurity to keep their birds free from avian influenza and other diseases. In the Northwestern and Central parts of the United States, animal health officials have detected a few new strains of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) among poultry flocks. None have been found in the northeast yet, but animal health officials are concerned as birds continue to migrate back to the U.S. as spring approaches. HPAI infections in poultry result in significant illness and death of infected birds. No human infections have been reported with any of these detections, either in the United States or abroad.
“HPAI has not been detected in New York State in many years and we want to make sure it stays that way,” said Dr. Smith. “Migratory waterfowl are one way in which HPAI is spread to domestic poultry, but the disease can also spread by the movement of materials and people. There are some simple steps that industry can take that have been proven to prevent avian influenza from entering a flock.”

Dr. Smith advises:
  • Cages and equipment should be cleaned and disinfected daily.
  • Clean clothes and shoes should be worn at all times when caring for birds and hands should be washed thoroughly prior to entering the area in which birds are kept.
  • Visitors should not be allowed near birds and equipment should not be shared among poultry owners.
  • Poultry should not be allowed to have any contact with wild birds.

Dr. Smith advises that there are no public health concerns associated with these virus strains at this time and the CDC considers the risk to people from these HPAI infections in poultry to be very low. While the risk of human illness from these particular strains is very low, it is still wise to always practice good hand hygiene when working around poultry and their waste. Thoroughly cooking poultry will safeguard against avian influenza and other illnesses that can be acquired through undercooked poultry. The most severe form of avian influenza, known as H5N1, has never been found in the United States.

Early detection is important to prevent the spread of disease. The warning signs of infectious poultry diseases include:

• Sudden increase in deaths in your flock
• Sneezing, gasping for air, coughing, and nasal discharge
• Watery and green diarrhea.
• Lack of energy and poor appetite.
• Drop in egg production, soft, thin-shelled or misshapen eggs.
• Swelling around the eyes, neck, and head
• Purple discoloration of the wattles, combs, and legs.
• Tremors, drooping wings, circling, twisting of the head and neck, or lack of movement

New York has been extremely proactive in preventing avian influenza among poultry flocks in the state. The Department of Agriculture and Markets’ Division of Animal Industry has enforced a number of important regulations aimed at eradicating and controlling avian influenza in the live bird marketing system within the state’s borders. These regulations apply to all sectors of the system including suppliers, distributors and live bird markets. Source flocks from which birds enter live bird marketing channels are required to test negative for avian influenza prior to moving into the system. State Animal Health Officials monitor the birds in the marketing system by verifying test records and monitoring sanitation levels at the live bird markets.

Poultry held in live bird markets are routinely tested for avian influenza by the Department’s Division of Animal Industry. Last year, approximately 35,000 birds in the New York live bird marketing system were tested for the disease. Positive findings for avian influenza in live bird markets are followed by trace backs to address possible infections in supply flocks. If a market tests positive, it is depopulated and thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Markets must be inspected and tested for avian influenza by Animal Health Officials prior to re-opening. New Jersey and Pennsylvania have similar programs to New York and working together, they provide an effective “early warning” network for avian influenza for much of the eastern United States.

According to the U.S. Census of Agriculture, there are 6,175 farms with poultry located in New York State. It is unclear how many poultry hobbyists there are in the state.

Additional information on poultry biosecurity can be found at
Poultry producers should report sick birds or unexplained deaths to the Office of the New York State Veterinarian at (518) 457-3502 or Federal Officials at (717) 540-2777 for further investigation. Early detection is key to preventing the spread of this disease. In addition, questions about testing and examination of sick poultry can be directed to Dr. Jarra Jagne, Extension Poultry Veterinarian at the Animal Health Diagnostic Center at Cornell University at 607-253-3900.

Avian Influenza - A Threat to US Poultry (pdf; 2690KB)

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in the United States (pdf; 271KB)

Protect Your Flock Now - Brochure (pdf; 550KB)











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Upcoming Events

Dairy Cattle Summer Research Update

July 18, 2019
Batavia, NY

After the day's work is done, come hear about two new research trials conducted by Julio Giordano's lab:
  • Strategies for improving dairy cattle reproductive performance and economics
  • Using automated sensors for improving dairy cattle health monitoring and management

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Weed Resistance Management Demonstration and Plot Tour

Event Offers DEC Credits

July 23, 2019
1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Waterloo, NY

Come join us on July 23 in Seneca County at Quinten Good's farm for a demonstration and walking tour of 16 different pre- and post-emergence treatments in soybean and 12 different treatments and combinations in corn.
  • Tall waterhemp and marestail are two weeds that are resistant to glyphosate and ALS herbicide modes of action in the WNY and Finger Lakes regions.
  • Each year the number of acres with resistant weed populations expands.
  • For herbicides to be an effective tool in weed management, we have to know what chemistries & application timings are most effective against these resistant weeds.

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Pasture Walk with the Finger Lakes Graziers

July 29, 2019
12:45 - 4 pm
Waterloo, NY

Join the Finger Lakes Graziers on a pasture walk and learn about soil health. 
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USDA Announces New Decision Tool for New Dairy Margin Coverage Program

WASHINGTON, April 30, 2019 ? Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced today the availability of a new web-based tool - developed in partnership with the University of Wisconsin - to help dairy producers evaluate various scenarios using different coverage levels through the new Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program.

The 2018 Farm Bill authorized
DMC, a voluntary risk management program that offers financial protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all milk price and the average feed cost (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer. It replaces the program previously known as the Margin Protection Program for Dairy. Sign up for this USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) program opens on June 17.

"With sign-up for the
DMC program just weeks away, we encourage producers to use this new support tool to help make decisions on participation in the program," Secretary Perdue said. "Dairy producers have faced tough challenges over the years, but the DMC program should help producers better weather the ups and downs in the industry."

The University of Wisconsin launched the decision support tool in cooperation with FSA and funded through a cooperative agreement with the USDA Office of the Chief Economist. The tool was designed to help producers determine the level of coverage under a variety of conditions that will provide them with the strongest financial safety net. It allows farmers to simplify their coverage level selection by combining operation data and other key variables to calculate coverage needs based on price projections.

The decision tool assists producers with calculating total premiums costs and administrative fees associated with participation in
DMC. It also forecasts payments that will be made during the coverage year.

The new Dairy Margin Coverage program offers very appealing options for all dairy farmers to reduce their net income risk due to volatility in milk or feed prices," said Dr. Mark Stephenson, Director of Dairy Policy Analysis, University of Wisconsin, Madison. "Higher coverage levels, monthly payments, and more flexible production coverage options are especially helpful for the sizable majority of farms who can cover much of their milk production with the new five million pound maximum for Tier 1 premiums. This program deserves the careful consideration of all dairy farmers."

For more information, access the tool at For
DMC sign up, eligibility and related program information, visit or contact your local USDA Service Center. To locate your local FSA office, visit

New Guidance for Mortality Disposal Issued

NYS Department of Ag and Markets has posted guidelines on disposal of livestock carcasses, in response to reports that some rendering companies have halted pickups from farms.|1