The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) and the American Pastured Poultry Producers Association (APPPA) will host a workshop on best practices for prevention and management of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) on pastured poultry farms on October 14 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Lancaster Farm and Home Center. This event is free and open to both members and non-members of PASA.

The workshop will offer attendees a comprehensive overview of HPAI issues for the pastured environment, best practices to prevent infection, as well as their rights and responsibilities should an outbreak occur on their farm. Scheduled speakers include Mike Badger, executive director of APPPA and successful poultry farmer; Susan Beal, holistic livestock health expert and DVM; Patty Dunn, avian pathologist at Penn State University; and Craig Shultz, Director of the Bureau of Animal Health and Diagnostic Services at the PA Department of Agriculture. In addition to these speakers, staff from the PDA  and PASA will be on hand to help answer questions and facilitate discussion.

PASA Educational Programs Director, Franklin Egan, encourages pastured poultry farmers to be proactive and to strongly consider attending this workshop. Said Egan, “As the fall wild bird migrations pick up, poultry farmers in Pennsylvania and across the east coast are very concerned that we could experience a highly destructive outbreak of HPAI. Farmers that raise chickens, turkeys, and other poultry outdoors and on pasture often maintain very healthy animals, but their flocks are not immune to infection from HPAI. Pastured poultry farmers must take steps to protect the health of their animals and prevent the spread of disease.”

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), since December 2014, there have been several confirmed cases of HPAI in the Pacific, Central and Mississippi migratory birth paths. Cases have included wild birds, backyard flocks and commercial poultry flocks. Because the influenza virus is capable of mutation, close monitoring and preparation are vital to effectively managing an outbreak should one occur.