The state agency defines a commercial grower as any grower under contract with a commercial integrator.
While no cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza have been detected in North Carolina, or the Atlantic flyway, the state wants to be well-prepared should the virus reach the state.
“It’s very important that growers think through the worst-case scenario, because a confirmation of high-path avian flu would certainly be a worst-case scenario,” Meckes said. “We want each grower to consider their resources and location to determine how they can best handle an outbreak in a way that is environmentally sensitive and gets them back online as soon as is feasible.”
All poultry must be registered
The North Carolina agency is also requiring that all poultry owners register their farms with the state, regardless of how many birds they own. Producers will be required to obtain a NCFarmID number, which will facilitate the department in alerting poultry owners about an outbreak, especially those in proximity of a farm already affected by avian influenza.
“In planning our response for highly pathogenic avian influenza, one problem we’ve come across is that we can’t protect birds that we don’t know exist,” Meckes said. “We need to know where poultry are located so we can properly protect commercial and backyard flocks."