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minnesota board of animal health animal bytes

February 2017

Commercial poultry employees encouraged to attend training

Classroom with poultry testing students

The next Commercial Authorized Poultry Testing Agent training courses have been scheduled for Tuesday, February 28, 2017 at the Minnesota Poultry Testing Laboratory in Willmar. These courses are only for new testing agents. Two courses are available:

  1. Commercial Turkey course from 9:00 – 11:30 a.m.
  2. Commercial Chicken course from 1:00 – 3:30 p.m. 

You should consider this course if you work at any of the following commercial facilities:

  • Turkey
  • Broiler
  • Layer/pullet
  • Turkey breeder/hatchery
  • Broiler breeder/hatchery
  • Egg-type layer breeder/hatchery

Course cost: Free

Registration deadline: Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Restrictions: Must be 18 years old

Click here to access a printable PDF registration form.

If you have questions, please email

Seeking students to explore animal science careers

The USDA is offering a unique internship opportunity called AgDiscovery this summer.

What is AgDiscovery? Do you know a 12 to 17-year-old middle school or high school student seeking:

  • A unique summer internship with an opportunity to live and study on a college campus
  • A chance to improve their resume for college.

Look no further… the USDA offers your student, your teenager, an opportunity of a lifetime.

AgDiscovery is a FREE outreach program to help students explore careers in animal science, veterinary medicine, agribusiness, plant pathology, and much more. This 2-4 week program allows participants to live on a college campus and learn about agricultural science from university professors, practicing veterinarians, industry representatives, and professionals working for the U.S. government. Students who participate in AgDiscovery will gain experience through hands-on labs, workshops, field trips, and other group and team building activities.

A total of 22 universities are participating in the 2017 Program. You do not have to live in the state in which you're applying.

Applications must be postmarked by March 1, 2017.

COST: AgDiscovery is FREE. Students will pay only the cost of their transportation to get from their home to the college campus for the start of the session and back again at the end of the session. The cost of tuition, room and board, and lab supplies for the program is covered by various programs within APHIS. Follow this link to full details on AgDiscovery.

Protect your birds, protect yourself: Defend The Flock

"Defend the Flock" example poster

The USDA recently launched the "Defend The Flock" campaign to protect the poultry industry in the United States. Not only are poultry an integral part of our nation's and Minnesota's economy, these animals are also livelihood for thousands of farm families.

Don't forget, fighting disease is a team effort and federal, state, industry and producers work together to protect our poultry. One of the best ways to prevent any infectious disease is to create and follow biosecurity practices at all times.

Defend the Flock, helps in both of these areas and it provides information and tools for commercial poultry producers, helping to educate and train everyone involved with poultry production on these key biosecurity practices. These numerous tips should compliment existing biosecurity practices on your farm.

APHIS encourages producers to use these resources, "Together, we can reduce the risk of Avian Influenza for all birds, while also reducing the potential financial and emotional impact of an outbreak."

Click this link and Defend The Flock.

Year-end scrapie report released

Sheep in a field

The National Scrapie Eradication Program (NSEP) annual report for fiscal year 2016 is available in PowerPoint and PDF formats:

What happened in FY2016?

  • 40,000 sheep and goats were tested for scrapie in and only 13 animals confirmed positive for classical scrapie. The last case of scrapie was reported in April 2016.
  • Only two infected and three source flocks were identified.
  • Samples for scrapie surveillance were collected from targeted sheep and goats at 179 sites in 39 states.

To learn more about scrapie, the disease, and the national scrapie eradication program, click this link to visit the APHIS VS Scrapie Website or check out our scrapie fact sheet here.