June 3, 2015 - 9:22am -- gerber.248

Dear 4-H Families,

As many of you have already heard, the Ohio Department of Agriculture has canceled all live poultry exhibitions for the remainder of 2015. The announcement was made at 11am this morning (6/2/2015) on a conference call to all Fair Boards. The official press release from the Department of Agriculture is available at ohioagriculture.gov.

Statement from Kerry Taylor, Senior Fair Board President:  "All fair boards in Ohio were just informed of this announcement at 11Am this morning, so at a local level we have not had much time to evaluate this situation other than we know that there will be a complete ban of live poultry and duck projects at all fairs in the state this year.  This is very discouraging, but a necessary precaution as officials work to prevent the spread of the Avian Flu.  We presently have 157 poultry/duck projects registered that are affected by this decision.  Over the following days the board will formulate a plan to hopefully include these youth in some type of participation, which may include life skills types of projects. This will be a major topic at our June 11 board meeting as we work to include the 4H and FFA youth in some fashion relating to poultry projects that have been registered."

We have been receiving many questions regarding what options 4-H members enrolled on poultry projects now have . . . and there simply is not an answer to those questions yet. The Senior Fair Board, Poultry Committee and OSU Extension office will be working together to brainstorm and identify one or more alternatives.  We will share those with all members enrolled in poultry projects and 4-H volunteers as soon as they have been determined.  Please be patient and bear with us as we all work through this difficult situation.

Thank you-

Kate Shumaker, County Extension Director