Avian flu fears have forced the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association to cancel this year’s 10th annual Eastern Triangle Farm Tour.
The farm tour was scheduled for Sept. 19-20 and included 26 sustainable farms in Durham, Wake, Franklin, Granville and Person counties.
The seasonal flu – Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza – does not infect people, but they can carry the virus on their bodies, shoes and car tires from one place to another.
The virus is spread by wild waterfowl, such as geese. Migration patterns and lower fall temperatures have made it “very likely” that birds from infected parts of Canada will cross the region this fall, association officials said Monday.
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The virus can be present in a flock for 21 days before becoming active, officials said, and moves quickly between birds, with the potential to kill an entire flock in just a few days. Since December, the virus has affected as many as 50 million birds in 20 states.
The risk prompted the N.C. Department of Agriculture to cancel live bird shows and sales until Jan. 15, including the show at the State Fair in October.
While North Carolina hasn’t had any avian flu outbreaks this year, the farm tour is being canceled as a precaution, the association said, because of the many farms and flocks that could be infected. The group made the decision after consulting with the state veterinarian and participating farmers.
This year’s avian flu is not expected to affect the Piedmont Farm Tour in April, which includes farms in Orange, Durham, Chatham, Alamance and Caswell counties.
Need a refund?
Advance ticket holders for the Sept. 19-20 farm tour can receive a refund by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 919-542-2402.