Ban On North Dakota Poultry Events Lifted, Too Late For Fair

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota animal health officials are ending a ban on poultry events that was instituted when bird flu was on the rise.

However, the decision by the State Board of Animal Health comes too late for State Fair poultry exhibits this year.

The board in March canceled all shows, public sales and exhibitions of poultry within the state at the request of the North Dakota Turkey Federation to help stem the spread of the bird flu. Private sales, catalog sales and retail sales were still allowed.

Early last month, the board extended the ban indefinitely. But, now with summer weather and bird migration slowing down the risk of avian influenza has decreased, so the board has lifted the ban.

But State Fair organizers say they don't have enough time to arrange for poultry shows this year. The fair begins Friday in Minot.

Bird flu has infected 16 flocks in 10 North Dakota counties, but only one flock has been added to the list in the last two months, the Bismarck Tribune reported, citing state data. Four commercial flocks have been impacted, but most of the documented infections have been in small backyard flocks.

Federal data shows that 167,000 birds in the state have been destroyed, mostly in the commercial flocks. The largest backyard flock that has been affected in North Dakota was 110 birds.

North Dakota has nine turkey farms that produce about 1 million birds annually, along with numerous backyard flocks, according to the Agriculture Department.