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In Clarion, 4-H’ers understand

By Staff | May 29, 2015

editor@messengernews.net

CLARION – With avian flu’s foothold in northwest Iowa and the subsequent decision to cancel poultry shows at all Iowa fairs, including the state fair, exhibitors are faced with a dilemma.

Treyor Jackson, 16, of Clarion, and a member of the Lake Clovers 4-H Club in Wright County, is one of those exhibitors.

Before the statewide ban on poultry shows was announced Thursday, he had planned on taking eight Feather Legged Bantams, three Silver Laced Wyandottes, two hens and one rooster to the Wright County Fair.

Now he won’t.

Despite that, Jackson said the ban on showing poultry at fairs in Iowa this year is an appropriate decision.

“It’s fair. With the avian flu going around, we shouldn’t be spreading it,” Jackson said Friday. “People put a lot of time and money into this and we don’t want to take any risk of spreading it around.”

Jackson said he hasn’t personally seen any symptoms of the bird flu in his flock and is hopeful he will be able to pursue his poultry projects at the 2016 Wright County Fair.

“There’s always next year,” he said.

Another disappointed 4-H’er from Clarion, Tristan Mewes, 16, who is a member of the Dayton Lake 4-H Club, was planning on showing six broiler chickens, two Cochin chickens, two pigeons, one pen of three geese, and six ducks.

That was before Thursday.

“They were a source of money for me in the summer selling them at the auction, and I especially look forward to going to the fair and showing my poultry,” Mewes said Friday.

With the money he had expected to earn – as much as several hundred dollars each year – he would buy feed and other necessities for his birds. He hopes he can make up for the lost income by selling broiler chickens raised on his family’s farm.

Despite the widespread reach of the flu, he isn’t concerned that his flock will become infected.

“My flocks are up in northern Iowa, nowhere near any large affected facilities and are kept inside,” he said.

Mewes has already been preparing for the fair by working with his ducks, pigeons and geese, trying to get them familiarized with him.

Now he’ll shift his attention to showing rabbits and meat goats.

Megan Lund, 16, of Clarion, admitted Friday that she’s dismayed by the ban, but she accepts it.

“They made the right decision so we don’t spread it around, but my sister, Sarah, and I are disappointed. We were excited to be able to show them.”

Lund is a member of the Dayton Lake 4-H Club. She was going to take Rhode Island Reds, White Leghorns and Petra Browns to the Wright County Fair this year.

Instead, she’ll concentrate on exhibiting other projects instead of poultry.

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