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Junior and open poultry shows are canceled for the 2022 state fair in the wake of the avian influenza outbreak.

Holly Spangler, Senior Editor, Prairie Farmer

June 27, 2022

2 Min Read
White bantam leghorn chicken with red comb held in arms of boy
NOT THIS YEAR: IDOA has canceled junior and open poultry shows at the 2022 Illinois State Fair, to protect flocks from avian influenza. Instead of the show, 4-H members can submit a virtual poster for competition. Merrimon/Getty Images

The Illinois Department of Agriculture has canceled junior and open live poultry shows at the 2022 Illinois State Fair to protect birds from avian influenza.

“The department works year-round to promote biosecurity for all livestock producers. With the current situation, it remains important for all of us to be responsible and protect against the spread of avian influenza during the Illinois State Fair and county fairs,” says Dr. Mark Ernst, IDOA state veterinarian.

This comes following a series of emergency rules on April 5 and May 20 that halted poultry shows and sales across the state. The emergency rule prohibits the sale or exhibition of poultry and poultry products at swap meets, exhibitions, flea markets and auction markets in Illinois to prevent the spread of avian influenza.

Lisa Diaz, Illinois 4-H director, says the University of Illinois has partnered with IDOA to help reduce risk and give young people an opportunity to compete through a virtual poster competition. Young people can find rules and requirements at They’ve also pushed entry deadlines back to July 15 for all junior poultry exhibitors to allow time to adapt to the new format.

Diaz says 4-H and its members have plenty of experience in pivoting competitions, pointing to the more than 400 virtual events across the state 4-H held during the pandemic.

“It is our commitment that 4-H youth will still have an opportunity to exhibit, win premiums and get judged with their 4-H poultry project this year — it will just be in a virtual manner, which has proved successful in the early part of the county fair season,” says Dan Jennings, University of Illinois Extension 4-H livestock specialist.

Many county fair 4-H junior poultry shows started the season with a virtual format, and that will continue throughout the entire county fair season. In those formats, young people demonstrate their project through posters or virtual exhibits.

If you’re a flock owner, manager or veterinarian and you observe an increase in mortality, decrease in water consumption, decrease in egg production, or respiratory signs including coughing and sneezing, please call IDOA at 217-782-4944 or USDA at 866-536-7593.ho

About the Author(s)

Holly Spangler

Senior Editor, Prairie Farmer, Farm Progress

Holly Spangler has covered Illinois agriculture for more than two decades, bringing meaningful production agriculture experience to the magazine’s coverage. She currently serves as editor of Prairie Farmer magazine and Executive Editor for Farm Progress, managing editorial staff at six magazines throughout the eastern Corn Belt. She began her career with Prairie Farmer just before graduating from the University of Illinois in agricultural communications.

An award-winning writer and photographer, Holly is past president of the American Agricultural Editors Association. In 2015, she became only the 10th U.S. agricultural journalist to earn the Writer of Merit designation and is a five-time winner of the top writing award for editorial opinion in U.S. agriculture. She was named an AAEA Master Writer in 2005. In 2011, Holly was one of 10 recipients worldwide to receive the IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Ag Journalism award. She currently serves on the Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation, the U of I Agricultural Communications Advisory committee, and is an advisory board member for the U of I College of ACES Research Station at Monmouth. Her work in agricultural media has been recognized by the Illinois Soybean Association, Illinois Corn, Illinois Council on Agricultural Education and MidAmerica Croplife Association.

Holly and her husband, John, farm in western Illinois where they raise corn, soybeans and beef cattle on 2,500 acres. Their operation includes 125 head of commercial cows in a cow/calf operation. The family farm includes John’s parents and their three children.

Holly frequently speaks to a variety of groups and organizations, sharing the heart, soul and science of agriculture. She and her husband are active in state and local farm organizations. They serve with their local 4-H and FFA programs, their school district, and are active in their church's youth and music ministries.

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