State Department of Agriculture Announces Testing Requirements for Lactating Dairy Cattle Entering Fairs or Exhibitions to Prevent HPAI Transmission

Jun 19, 2024

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets today announced new testing requirements for dairy cattle entering fairs or exhibitions to continue to prevent the transmission of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in dairy cattle in New York State. The order issued by the Department requires that lactating dairy cattle be tested and show negative results for HPAI within seven days prior to entering a fair, including the Great New York State Fair, county fairs, or other exhibitions. The test must be conducted by an approved National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) lab.

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “With the kick-off of summer fair season just a few weeks away, we want to remain vigilant about the concerns of HPAI in dairy cattle we are seeing across the country and ensure we are doing all we can to keep our livestock safe and healthy here in New York. By requiring this testing protocol, which will be covered, we hope to minimize the risk of the spread of HPAI while providing the opportunity for the summer traditions of entering and showing of dairy cattle at fairs and exhibitions to continue.”

State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said, “The Department of Health supports this latest biosurveillance protocol as we enter the summer fair season in an effort to prevent the spread avian influenza in dairy cattle in New York State. As a reminder, there are still no known cases of avian influenza in livestock or in humans in New York State, and we will continue to work with the Department of Agriculture and Markets to monitor the situation and prepare for any potential risks to public health and safety.”

The Department encourages industry members to follow these steps in addition to the state’s order to help ensure the health and safety of animals at county fairs across New York, in addition to The Great New York State Fair. Animal health requirements for 2024 county fairs and The New York State Fair are outlined in three documents, listed below. These documents currently apply to animals, including poultry, at fairs in 2024.

Additionally, in April, the state issued temporary import requirements for dairy cattle coming  into New York and continues to urge farm owners and farm workers to practice good biosecurity measures, which include restricting on-farm access to employees and essential personnel; providing farm-dedicated work boots for all workers that are not worn anywhere else; preventing cattle from drinking from sources that may be contaminated by waterfowl; preventing wild birds from accessing feed sources and making sure all feed spills are cleaned up; and contact your veterinarian if you suspect your cattle are showing signs of HPAI.

Additional biosecurity recommendations can be found here. Biosecurity involves all the actions taken to reduce or eliminate the spread of the virus, which includes biosurveillance measures which involves monitoring for sick animals.

The Department’s order aligns with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) recent recommendations to minimize influenza transmission at dairy cattle livestock exhibitions, including a recommendation that lactating animals moving interstate to an exhibition, show, or sale must have a negative test result from samples collected within seven days of movement. Producers and veterinarians are encouraged to continue visiting the USDA APHIS website for the latest information. View the full recommendations at

USDA also recently announced expanded support for producers to help stop the spread of HPAI in dairy cattle, including for producers who do not have a herd that has tested positive. This support equips producers with tools they can use to keep their herds and workers healthy and reduce risk of the virus spreading to additional herds. These financial tools include supporting biosecurity planning and implementation; reimbursing producers for veterinary costs associated with sample collection for testing, and offsetting shipping costs for influenza A testing at laboratories in the National Animal Health Laboratory Network.

Since the first detection of HPAI in dairy cattle in March, HPAI has now been found in dairy cattle and goats in 12 states. No cases have been detected in New York livestock to date. The Department has issued a statewide alert to veterinarians urging them to contact the Department if they see any signs or symptoms of illness in farm animals.

Clinical signs seen in affected cattle:

  • decreased milk production;
  • acute sudden drop in production with some severely impacted cows experiencing thicker, concentrated milk;
  • decrease in feed consumption; abnormal feces; and low-grade fever.

Clinical signs seen in affected newborn goats:

  • Unusual deaths

If any of these symptoms are noted, veterinarians are urged to call the Department at (518) 457-3502 for sampling guidance. USDA APHIS continues to study how the virus is believed to be spread 

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