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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)











calendar of events

Upcoming Events

Beginning Farmer/Hobby Farmer Workshop $5/pp, class size is limited, so pre-register by April 15th!

April 27, 2019
9:00 am - 1:00 pm
Canandaigua, NY

This hands-on workshop is for beginning or part-time farmers who would like to improve their farm machinery skills, learn to properly and safely maintain their equipment to protect their investment. If you have been thinking about buying a tractor, new or used, two-wheel or four-wheel drive, compact or utility or more come join us. Topics include: selecting the right size/type tractor for the job; basic maintenance; staying safe around tractors and equipment; attaching implements properly; and information about ROPS and SMV's. There will be time for questions.

Pre-registration requested by April 15, 2019 email Amy with your name, address, and phone number or call 585-394-3977 x 429.
Fee: $5.00/person. Class size is limited.

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2019 Pastured Poultry Seminar, lunch included so please register by May 10th! $25/person

May 18, 2019
Registration begins at 8:00 a.m.w/ coffee & donuts with the Program running from 9:00 a.m. - 5 p. m.
Attica, NY

The main speaker this year is Eli Reiff of Mifflinburg Pennsylvania. Eli raises broilers, turkeys, sheep, and beef, all on pasture. Topics to be covered will include the pasture, feed and nutrition, marketing, costs, and much more. As we grow as farm operators and get bigger, we may not pay as much attention to the basics as we should. So those areas are where we will start, and then expand to cover the group's interests.

Mike Badger, Director of the American Pastured Poultry Producers Association will also be available for a round-table discussion. Plans are to have representatives from Farm Bureau, NYCAMH for farm health and safety, Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce, and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Wyoming County, as well as others.

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Calling all 9th-12th graders! 4th Annual Precision Agriculture Day at Genesee Community College

May 21, 2019
9:00 am - 1:30 pm Register by Friday May 10th! $15/per person includes lunch
Batavia, NY

Calling all 9th-12th graders!  We have an exciting new program for students interested in technology, science, engineering, and agriculture!
Would you like to:
  • Learn about how Drones collect information
  • Check out some potential career opportunities that have new and ever-changing technology
  • Learn how these technologies can be used in our own backyards in WNY
  • Discover potential and exciting career opportunities

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Producers Previously Enrolled in the LGM Program Now Eligible for MPP

Dairy Producers Previously Enrolled in the Livestock Gross Margin Program Now Eligible for 2018 Margin Protection Program
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that dairy producers who elected to participate in the Livestock Gross Margin for Dairy Cattle Program (LGM-Dairy) now have the opportunity to participate in the Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy) for 2018 coverage. Sign-up will take place March 25 through May 10, 2019.
Eligible producers can enroll during the sign-up period at their local USDA service center. To locate your office, visit

Smart Farming Team Technical Assistance Grant Application

The Labor Ready Farmer Project is offering grants to provide up to 12 hours of Technical Assistance (TA) consulting services to farms who want to make improvements to their farm's processes in hiring, training, managing or evaluating employees. Applicants will choose from one of the following four areas for TA assistance and identify a specific project. If selected they will be matched with a "Smart Farming Team" of consultants who will provide one on one technical assistance.
Please complete this application and send to Nicole Waters, Beginning Farm Project Coordinator for the Cornell Small Farms Program. The form can be submitted by email, mail or in-person at the address listed below. Please feel free to call or email with any questions.

Nicole Waters - Beginning Farmer Project Coordinator
Plant Science Building, Room 15b
Tower Road, Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853
Phone: 607-255-9911

Applications accepted on a rolling basis.

USDA Announces January Income over Feed Cost Margin Triggers First 2019 Dairy Sa

WASHINGTON, March 6, 2019 ? The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced this week that the January 2019 income over feed cost margin was $7.99 per hundredweight, triggering the first payment for eligible dairy producers who purchase the appropriate level of coverage under the new but yet-to-be established Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program.

DMC, which replaces the Margin Protection Program for Dairy, is a voluntary risk management program for dairy producers that was authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill. DMC offers 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.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced last week that sign up for 
DMC will open by mid-June of this year. At the time of sign up, producers who elect a DMC coverage level between $8.00 and $9.50 would be eligible for a payment for January 2019.

For example, a dairy operation with an established production history of 3 million pounds (30,000 cwt.) that elects the $9.50 coverage level for 50 percent of its production could potentially be eligible to receive $1,887.50 for January.

Sample calculation:
$9.50 - $7.99 margin = $1.51 difference
$1.51 times 50 percent of production times 2,500 cwt. (30,000 cwt./12) = $1,887.50

The calculated annual premium for coverage at $9.50 on 50 percent of a 3-million-pound production history for this example would be $2,250.

Sample calculation:
3,000,000 times 50 percent = 1,500,000/100 = 15,000 cwt. times 0.150 premium fee = $2,250

Operations making a one-time election to participate in DMC through 2023 are eligible to receive a 25 percent discount on their premium for the existing margin coverage rates.

"Congress created the Dairy Margin Coverage program to provide an important financial safety net for dairy producers, helping them weather shifting milk and feed prices," FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce said. "This program builds on the previous Margin Protection Program for Dairy, carrying forward many of the program upgrades made last year based on feedback from producers. We're working diligently to implement the DMC program and other FSA programs authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill."

Additional details about DMC and other FSA farm bill program changes can be found at

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