|Sow and piglets from a previous state fair|
In 2014, due to a relatively new virus known as Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv), which has a high mortality rate among piglets, a decision was made by the state Department of Agriculture and Markets to suspend the exhibit to protect the well-being of piglets and their mothers.
Due to the fact that there were no reported cases at the State Fair as well as county fairs in 2014, coupled with no unusual uptick in cases this winter in contrast with last winter, Commissioner Ball and Dr. Smith have made the decision to allow this exhibit to return in 2015.
“I’ve gotten more questions on the status of this exhibit for 2015 than I can count, and after careful consideration by the one of best animal health experts in the country, we couldn’t be more pleased that this wildly popular exhibit is returning to the Fair in 2015,” said Ball.
“We are first and foremost an agricultural fair, and we take our responsibility as caregivers to the animals there very seriously," Ball said. "This is great news for fairgoers coming to the premier agritourism location in New York State in 2015.”
“We’ve been monitoring this situation with respect to PEDv very closely since its outbreak almost two years ago,” said Dr. Smith. “Our staff was at every agricultural fair in New York state last year monitoring animal health and no evidence of the virus was reported. Vaccines were also made available to pork producers last year with some success."
New York had 70,000 hogs on Dec 1, 2014, up from 66,000 on Dec. 1, 2013.
Ed Dutton, owner of Churchill Farms in Holland, NY, said, “As a longtime exhibitor, I think this is great news for fairgoers because seeing piglets with their mothers up close is always one of the most positive experiences at the Fair.”
- 4H-ers purchasing feeder pigs for their fair projects should only acquire their feeders from reputable farms. If they’re from out of state ask to see the certificate of veterinary inspection.
- All swine should be examined closely before taking them to the fair. Exhibitors should take their animals’ temperature prior to the trip to the fair. Swine with temperatures over 102.5 should be left home.
- If any of your pigs have diarrhea, no pigs from the affected farm should go to the fair.
- All exhibitors should practice a high level of sanitation at every fair, including avoiding unnecessary contact with other swine and other exhibitors’ equipment.
- Left over feed and bedding are best discarded at the fair and not brought home, since these materials are very difficult or impossible to disinfect.
- Isolate all pigs after returning home for at least 2 weeks. Observe pigs closely during this period and consult a veterinarian if any become sick
Hand sanitizers will again be used at barns located throughout the 12-day fair.
PEDv is relatively new to the US, first appearing in the Midwest in May 2013 and has taken a heavy toll on the nation’s hog farmers, having caused the death of millions of piglets since its outbreak. When sows and litters become infected, PEDv kills nearly 100 percent of piglets less than 10 days old, while pigs older than 10 days tend to recover.