Fair season is officially here with the Linn Country and Howard County fair this week and with fairs comes junior livestock contests.

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For the last few months, Iowa has been dealing with an outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza which has led to the death of 15 million commercial and backyard poultry. This outbreak led to the state calling for a lockdown of live bird exhibits.

This month, that lockdown was lifted and gatherings of live birds, including youth contests, were allowed to resume.

Both the Linn and Howard County Fairs have youth poultry shows on their schedules this year. Howard’s is being held Thursday and Linn’s is being held Saturday.

In an article in KWWL, Linn County Fair officials say that few people kept their birds home to be safe but a majority did come back, excited to show off their birds. Officials said they did make changes at the Linn County Fair as they prepared for the shows including pushing pullorum typhoid testing closer to the fair date and encouraging biosecurity measures such as hand washing.

But not everywhere is welcoming back poultry shows just yet. The Illinois State Fair is not going to hold its poultry fair due to foreign disease concerns.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture canceled the junior and open live poultry shows at the state fair because Avian Influenza hasn’t gone away. But that doesn’t mean poultry exhibitors need to wait until 2023 to show their birds.

There will be a virtual poster competition instead of a live in-person show. More information on that can be found on the fair’s website.

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