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Avian Flu A Concern For Arkansas Poultry Producers

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UofA Agriculture Department
Small poultry backyard flocks and large commercial grower operations could be affected by avian flu.

A THREAT TO POULTRY FARMS - According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service-- Arkansas poultry farmers produced $3.9 Billion dollars in broilers and another $443 Million dollars in Turkeys. With numbers like these, it’s pretty clear that poultry is big business in Arkansas. But concerns are rising regarding avian influenza so-called “bird flu” –which has shown up in neighboring state of Oklahoma. Dr. Dustan Clark, extension veterinarian for the University of Arkansas’ Division of Agriculture explains the need for concern.

"Well the current avian influenza outbreak is a big problem," Clark said. "There have been detections in 35 states, 353 confirmed flocks, totaling over 38 million birds, 170 of those flocks are backyard small flocks, 183 are commercial flocks. There has been none detected in the state of Arkansas."

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UofA Agriculture Dept.
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Dr. Dustan Clark, Veterinarian with the University of Arkansas Department of Agriculture

Avian Flu is transmitted as wild birds migrate, leaving behind their droppings along the way. Its highly pathogenic strains can kill 90-100% of poultry quickly, often within 48 hours of infection so Clark says poultry producers on both large commercial farms and small backyard operations need to pay attention to the health of their flocks. The last time avian flu made a major impact on the nation’s poultry supply was an outbreak in 2015.

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' broadcast and media experience to Red River Radio. He began his career as a radio news reporter and transitioned to television journalism and newsmagazine production. Chuck studied mass communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.