Poultry exhibits canceled at Iowa fairs - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Poultry exhibits canceled at Iowa fairs

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BUCHANAN COUNTY (KWWL) -

Iowa's battle with the bird flu now affects a summertime tradition in the state.

Poultry shows will be prohibited at the Iowa State Fair and every county fair in the state due to the avian flu.

This effectively ends the "blue ribbon dreams" for thousands of kids across the state, though, most county fairs will be offering blue ribbons as part of exhibits and projects, though live poultry won't be allowed.

Jackson Willey is something of a "bird" man.

"I love chickens. Chickens and poultry in general are so neat because there's so many different varieties and they do look really cool. I like to sit and watch em because they remind me of dinosaurs," said Willey.

But this year, he won't be able to show his prized poultry at the Buchanan County Fair.

Bird flu concerns have canceled all live poultry exhibits at all fairs in the state.

"It is upsetting but it would be even more upsetting to show up at the fair and 10s or 100s of dead chickens, whether it be my chickens, or other people's chickens. That'd be terrible," said Willey.

So Willey will have to wait.

So will Emily Martins.

She won the overall Market Broilers FFA competition at the Iowa State Fair.

It's also her business.

"I sell the eggs. I collect the eggs and everyday I put them in the fridge and some of the teachers at the school buy eggs from it and it's kind of a small business that I have. I keep records on them. I show them at fairs. They are pets but they are a business," said Martins.

Martins says she'll miss showing at the fair but doesn't want to risk her birds health.

Meantime, area county fairs hope to have alternatives for 4-H'ers but agree, the danger is real.

"It is disappointing in that we don't get to have the show but it's also a very big security, bio-security thing to stop. Hopefully, we can get this flu stopped," said Amber Van Ree, Buchanan County Poultry Show superintendent.

Health experts tell us the avian flu poses no threat to humans.

But as the country's largest egg-producing state, state agriculture officials are hoping to minimize any more risk of spreading the virus among Iowa's poultry.

The Iowa Turkey Federation and the Iowa Poultry Association had recommended the measures which the Iowa Department of Agriculture put in place.

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