Poultry security requires monitors

GEORGIA - Dan Cunningham e-mailed small poultry farmers on Sept. 8 regarding biosecurity for backyard flocks. Most likely, few of them noted the date and its agroterrorism connection.

It has been four years since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

But that day has forever changed how we view terrorism, and brought to our attention the potential threats to our nation's top industry: agriculture.

Now, proper testing of dead, diseased birds is vital, said Cunningham, a poultry science professor and cooperative extension coordinator in the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

That's true even when the disease's source may be close to home. "We're reminding small flock producers as a precautionary measure," he said. It's not because of a sudden disease outbreak.

Poultry accounts for half of the state's $4 billion farm income, according to UGA sources. Its economic impact in Georgia is $13.5 billion. On an average day, the state produces 24.7 million pounds of chicken meat and 8.2 million table eggs. It's hard to overstate how much is at stake.

Source: GainesvilleTimes
calendar icon 23 September 2005
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