Poultry shows have returned to Iowa county fairs! With the last reported case of the Avian Influenza dating to May 2nd, 4-H and FFA poultry exhibitors are making their way to county fairgrounds with their birds across the state of Iowa. Instructions from the state reported that if there was an outbreak of the bird flu in your county, you must push back the poultry show by 30 days. For each new outbreak reported, the 30 days would start over.
With the possibility of a case to be reported and having to cancel their shows, all counties across the state of Iowa were faced with a tough decision: telling their exhibitors to begin preparing their bird projects just in case or cancel the show all together. All counties we have been in contact with reported that they decided to go forward and plan a poultry show.
Each county made it clear to exhibitors and their families the possibility of preparing their entries and not getting to show. However, most families took this information and went about how they would in normal years, preparing their entries for fair! In a series of interviews conducted with county extension officials, numbers down just slightly statewide, most exhibitors that normally showed at fair times continued to do so.
Some counties decided to put a few extra precautions in place at their fairs in hopes of preventing a new outbreak from occurring. Linn County Fair, for example, set forth the rules that you must wash your hands before handling each new bird, especially if you were helping your friends show their entries.
Howard County Fair even created a backup plan in case they did have to cancel their actual show. After telling their 4-H and FFA members to move forward in preparing for the fair, they felt that the members putting the time and effort to have their animals show ready and taking a show away from them wasn’t fair. In a conversation with a Howard County Extension representative, we learned that Howard County put together a skill-a-thon as backup! Having a competition put together to test the exhibitor's knowledge of everything they learned with their project, they luckily did not have to use it and were able to have their show.
We are just entering the heart of the county fair season. Be sure to stop by and check out their poultry shows as well as other projects exhibited by youth!