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Arkansas Farm Bureau - Video: Avian Influenza Prevention (September 14, 2015)

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  • Arkansas Farm Bureau - Video: Avian Influenza Prevention (September 14, 2015)

    VIDEO: Avian Influenza

    9/14/2015 at 3:43 p.m.

    “Arkansas was fortunate to only have one incident last spring actually,” said Bruce Holland, director of the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission.

    “We’re hoping right now with proper biosecurity measures put in place that maybe we can reduce the risk to Arkansas,” Holland said.

    “We don’t know if that virus is going to be back this fall or not. Worst case scenario is it could be in 20 states and over 500 cases which is double what we’ve had in the spring. So, as the cold weather returns and migratory birds start coming back, if our growers in Arkansas can get those best practices put in place and make those changes. Think of all those little things that you can do to minimize the risk to your operation.”

    Livestock and Poultry Commission director Bruce Holland and Dr. Brandon Doss, Commission poultry specialist and acting state veterinarian updated Arkansas Farm Bureau staff members on the likelihood of another outbreak of high pathogenic A.I. and steps the industry working group has identified to help reduce the risk of another outbreak.

    “Things like having a designated entry point for each barn,” explained Doss. “Having fresh foot pans with disinfectant available that are changed multiple times a day to keep that disinfectant fresh, farm-designated clothing for all farm workers and people that come on and off the farm. Disinfecting their footwear prior to entering houses effectively, disinfecting their hands. Limiting visitors to the farm, having a designated farm vehicle that doesn’t do anything other than the work around the poultry houses. Simple things like that that can go a long way to prevent the introduction of the virus.”

    An outbreak earlier this year was especially severe in Minnesota and Iowa where upwards of 50 million birds, mainly turkeys and laying hens, had to be depopulated. The shortage of birds nationwide has resulted in higher retail prices for eggs and frozen turkey. Industry officials hope there is not a widespread reoccurrence this winter.

    “It’s just like putting your seatbelt on in your car,” Holland said. “You may never, ever need it. But boy if you need it, you need it. So, look at it that way. Buckle your seatbelts and get ready for this to come to Arkansas.”

    Once the biosecurity guidelines have been finalized they will be posted on the Livestock and Poultry Commission website. Doss said the industry is scheduling a series of meetings with growers where they will explain the risk and stress the need for growers to adhere to these guidelines to protect the poultry industry in Arkansas.

    "Safety and security don't just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear."
    -Nelson Mandela