agriculture

Another flock of TN chickens found with bird flu

News release from state Department of Agriculture

NASHVILLE — The state veterinarian confirms that a flock of chickens at a commercial poultry breeding operation has tested positive for low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI).

This chicken breeding operation is located in Giles County, Tenn. The company that operates it is a different company from the one associated with the recent detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in Lincoln County. At this time, officials do not believe one premises sickened the other.
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Bird flu found in TN chicken flock

News release from Tennessee Department of Agriculture

NASHVILLE — The state veterinarian confirms that a strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has sickened a commercial chicken breeder flock in Lincoln County.

 “Many Tennessee families rely on the poultry industry for their livelihoods, and the state is working closely with local, county and federal partners and the poultry industry to control the situation and protect the flocks that are critical to our state’s economy,” Gov. Bill Haslam said.

HPAI is known to be deadly for domesticated chickens and turkeys. On March 3, a commercial chicken facility in Lincoln County alerted the state veterinarian’s office at the Tennessee Department of Agriculture to an increase in chicken deaths. Testing at state and federal laboratories confirmed the presence of H7 HPAI in samples from that flock.  Continue reading

USDA adopts new rule on TN Walking Horse ‘soring;’ Alexander objects

Just days before the Obama administration leaves office, the U. S. Department of Agriculture announced changes to rules governing enforcement of the Horse Protection Act Friday that animal rights supporters hailed as a major step toward ending the abusive practice of soring, reports The Tennessean.

The new rule will ban much of the gear used, including chains placed around horses’ ankles during training and stacks — the tall weights attached to the front hooves.

It also will force inspectors to become trained and licensed through the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

“(The USDA is) taking away the most obvious and ubiquitous tools used for soring,” said Keith Dane, senior adviser on equine protection for the Humane Society of the United States. “We’re very encouraged by the rule.”

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Haslam gives OK to longer, wider loads of hay

News release from the governor’s office

NASHVILLE – With much of Tennessee and the Southeast coping with extreme drought, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has issued an executive order to ease restrictions on trucks hauling hay.

“Agriculture is critical to our state’s economy, and rain is a critical ingredient that farmers need to keep their businesses running,” Haslam said. “This order will allow haulers to move hay across and through Tennessee efficiently, so farmers can feed their livestock during these drought conditions.”

Haslam’s executive order increases the height of hay trailer loads to 13 feet, 6 inches and the width to a maximum of 14 feet during daylight hours on Tennessee highways. The average round bale of hay measures seven feet across. The increase in width allows haulers to transport standard round hay bales side by side, increasing the capacity hauled per truck without a special permit. Transporters must have the proper oversize signs and escorts as required by the Tennessee Department of Transportation, and trucks and their drivers must be properly licensed. Maximum weight limits outlined in TCA, Section 55-7-203 remain in effect.

The executive order will expire January 31, 2017.

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