DES MOINES – An order canceling all live bird exhibitions will be lifted effective Jan. 1. An outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza this year led to bans on live birds at county fairs, the Iowa State Fair, livestock auction markets, swap meets, exotic sales and other events.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship implemented the ban on May 21 in an effort to minimize the spread of HPAI. The agency reported 77 premises and 31.5 million birds were affected with the disease in Iowa. However, there have been no new cases of the disease reported in the state since June. The final quarantine was lifted on Dec. 1, and Iowa is considered HPAI-free.

“This is very good news and another sign that we continue to recover from this devastating animal health emergency, said Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture. “We know the ban on exhibitions caused some real challenges for those anticipating showing or selling birds, but we appreciate everyone cooperating as we worked to stop the disease and then allow the industry to recover.”

The agency said Iowa is home to 35 commercial turkey flocks, 22 commercial egg production flocks, 13 pullet flocks, one chicken breeding flock, one mail order hatchery and five backyard flocks.