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Updating an Announcement from January – No Poultry Show Will be Held This Year.

Earlier this month, the voting members of Agfest had decided to move forward with holding a terminal-only poultry show. However, since then, there have been 20 new cases discovered and it has been recommended by the USDA that we not hold a show. We will be abiding by the recommendation and there will NOT be a poultry show again this year. While we completely understand that this is disappointing for our youth involved in poultry projects, it is critical that we all do our part in eradication efforts for this devastating disease. Thank-you for your understanding and support. Here is a link to the latest updates from the state veterinarian on this important issue.

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Newcastle Disease Updates

Here are the latest updates on the Newcastle Disease outbreak in California. Some new cases reported recently, but things still trending in a positive direction. As always, we will continue to monitor the situation as AgFest 2020 approaches and follow the mandates/recommendations of the CDFA as they relate to our poultry shows in 2020.


January 29, 2020

Virulent Newcastle Disease Update from State Veterinarian Dr. Annette Jones

Many southern California residents may be wondering why their local feed and pet stores do not have chicks for sale this spring.  While virus levels in the region are greatly reduced, VND continues to impact backyard flocks inside the regional quarantine area, as evidenced by the detection of more than 20 new cases this winter. DNA from these recent cases suggests they are all related, most likely from a single source with further spread due to bird movement, lax biosecurity, and commingling at feed and pet stores.  

Feed and pet stores provide a critical infrastructure for bird owners. Not only are they a source of feed, equipment and birds, they are also a gathering place for like-minded people where information and experiences can be shared. Unfortunately, this foot traffic also means that some customers may be carrying the virus on their shoes or clothing. When a store with this type of foot traffic also houses poultry, it gives the virus a chance to find a new host and become even more infectious.  Keeping poultry, including baby chicks, out of these important community businesses will help the region become VND free.

The best defense against the virus is to continue practicing good biosecurity.

  • Disinfect and change shoes and clothes before and after handling your birds
  • Do not wear clothes and shoes used with your flock to places with poultry or other bird owners
  • Wash hands thoroughly
  • Do not handle birds while at feed or pet stores
  • Disinfect anything purchased at the store before introducing it to your flock (feeders, waters, etc.) 

Be aware of the signs of VND in your flock and report any sick birds to the CDFA Sick Bird Hotline (1-866-922-2473) right away.


December 23, 2019

Virulent Newcastle Disease Update from State Veterinarian Dr. Annette Jones

Over the past month, Virulent Newcastle disease cases have increased because people have violated the CDFA VND Regional Quarantine by moving infected birds or contaminated equipment and secondary spread to neighboring flocks.  We now have 20 new cases under investigation, all linked to the recent Bloomington area outbreak.  Most of the cases are in San Bernardino County, with two in Riverside County and one in Los Angeles County.   Backyard flocks as well as retail pet/feed stores are involved. 

Based on phylogenetic analysis and epidemiologic studies, we understand how the disease spreads in Southern California.  This highly contagious virus has been spread when people move exposed birds or equipment, or when people carry the virus to their own unfortunate flock on their hands and feet.   It moves long distances as people illegally move birds or equipment. When introduced to a new area, it is amplified as the previously uninfected poultry succumb until the environmental virus load is so great, the outbreak spreads from yard to yard.  Exposed poultry around a newly infected flock are the “virus amplifiers,” particularly just before they show signs of disease.

Put simply, your birds can spread the disease before they show symptoms, so the only way to stop it is to not move birds – period – if you are in the CDFA Regional Quarantine Area.

As a reminder, last year the disease was spread from San Bernardino to LA and Riverside counties and beyond, leading to widespread highly infected areas, infected poultry farms, the death of over 1.2 million birds, and significant financial and emotional strain on poultry owners and disease control agencies. 

We need your help to stop the spread of this virus and end this outbreak.  Specific actions you can take to protect the poultry in your community are on the CDFA VND website in our biosecurity videos, guidance documents and links, but general keys to success include:

  • DO NOT move poultry or poultry equipment within the VND Regional Quarantine without a CDFA permit.
  • DO NOT let anyone with birds near your poultry.
  • DO NOT accidentally bring this virus home to your flock on your clothes, hands, feet or equipment.

Please work together to ensure we do not see this outbreak grow as it did in 2018.  Stopping the spread will take the combined effort of all bird owners.  Talk to your neighbors and friends.  Keep Southern California safe for poultry!


December 9, 2019

Virulent Newcastle Disease Update from State Veterinarian Dr. Annette Jones

In November and December of 2019, CDFA and USDA have detected a total of 6 new confirmed cases of virulent Newcastle disease in backyard poultry and at a retail feed store in western San Bernardino County. Information gathered so far indicates that these cases are linked, but we are still working to find additional connections and potentially more cases.

As a result of these findings, we have euthanized poultry on confirmed infected and exposed properties in the Bloomington-area and have intensified testing in the neighborhoods surrounding the infected flocks.    

In an effort to minimize the impact of this new pocket of disease on the entire area, our epidemiologists continue to explore multiple disease response strategies with an eye towards preventing a major outbreak from reoccurring.  

All strategies currently under consideration will involve more testing in areas we have already tested at least once, including in Los Angeles and Riverside counties. While these recent cases are in San Bernardino County and our last positive cases in Los Angeles and Riverside counties were in May 2019 and September 2019, significant historical evidence shows that infected birds are moved frequently between these counties, so as long as we have remaining pockets of disease, a substantial risk of spread exists.

We are hoping that we can keep moving toward eradication and freedom from disease. Success depends on community efforts. Stay vigilant, report sick birds, and take actions to protect your birds and your community’s birds from disease.  Do not move birds and do not allow new poultry on your property.

While the vast majority of people in affected communities have made the commitment and sacrifice needed to stop this outbreak, some have ignored our quarantine and even encouraged others to ignore the quarantine. We all need to work together so we can eliminate this virus entirely from California and return to an environment that supports healthy backyard birds and poultry farms.


The regional quarantine is still in effect (see map here). For a list of virulent Newcastle disease cases since the outbreak began in May 2018, visit the USDA VND website.


Attention: The United States Postal Service (USPS) is not allowing shipments of live birds (all) or hatching/embryonated eggs into or out of zip codes 90000-93599 in California. For more information:

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Junior Board Application and Handbook Posted

2020 is going to be a great year for the AgFest Junior Board! We had great participation at our first meeting and selected our 2020 theme…Lights! Camera! Agfest!

FFA and 4-H AgFest 2020 participants in grades 7-12th are welcome to join.  Signed applications are mandatory for those who would like to work on and/or with the Junior AgFest board. If you would like to get involved, click here for information and to download this year’s application. Hope to see you at our next meeting!

Contact Lucinda Suttle at for more information.

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Important News from the January General Meeting

There is some important information that came out of this weeks general meeting for AgFest:

  • Poultry Show – Barring any changes to the status of the Newcastle disease eradication efforts, AgFest will be holding poultry shows at AgFest 2020 but they will be for market only, there will be no breeding show. To do our part to support Newcastle eradication, this will be a terminal show so all birds brought to the show must be processed at the conclusion of AgFest…including animals that are not sold at auction. No Exceptions. UPDATE 3/29/20: Due to an escalation in recent cases, we will NOT be holding a poultry show as planned
  • Junior Board – The Junior Board held their first meeting and selected our 2020 theme – “Lights, Camera, AgFest!” Applications for Junior Board will be posted on the web site shortly and the next meeting will be Tuesday, January 28th at 6:30 PM at the Robert Cabral Agriculture Center at 2101 E Earhart Ave in Stockton.
  • Blue Ribbon online entries and YQCA field: The YQCA certificate number will be a required field this year in the Blue Ribbon entries. Please make sure that your child has completed their YQCA training and certification (it must be renewed every year) prior to entries opening so that you can enroll them properly. YQCA numbers will be validated and if the number entered is incorrect or “placeholder” information is entered, the entry will be considered incomplete. AgFest will be holding YQCA training at an upcoming meeting (information to be posted soon) and most FFA chapters will hold trainings for their members. You can also complete the training online. Click here for details.

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Notes from August 6 General Meeting

Thank you to those who came to our first AgFest 2020 planning meeting on August 6.
Here are some key notes that came out of the meeting:

  • Dates were set for AgFest 2020 – June 13th – June 20th. Farm to Fork will take place on Saturday, June 13th. Contests begin with breeding shows on Sunday, June 14th and the Livestock Auction will conclude the week on Saturday, June 20th (the day before Father’s Day).
  • The first meeting for the Governance committee will be held on Tuesday, August 13th at 6 pm at the Roberts Union Farm Center 4925 Howard Rd. 
    -This meeting will cover proposed changes to current bylaws. Here are our current bylaws for review prior to the meeting.
    San Joaquin County Junior Show and Auction Council ByLaws
    -This meeting will also be for the nominating committee. Please come if you are interested in nominating someone for key positions. The President and Secretary positions are open, as well as some Committee Chairs that the new president will appoint. 
  • If you are interested in volunteering to chair a committee or fill an office, please review the proposed standing committee list and then complete an application and return it to

    Standing Committees
    Officer and Standing Committee Chair Application
  • There are many opportunities to volunteer outside of chairing a committee or filling an office. We encourage new voices and ideas. Please keep attending out general meeting or email to find out how.

Our next meeting will be our MEMBERSHIP meeting and will be held on TUESDAY – SEPTEMBER 10th, 2019 at 6 pm.  The Location is TBD. Please mark and adjust your calendar as this will be the 2nd week of September due to the holiday.