Volume 22 | Issue 9
Let your voice be heard in permit hearings for digester systems
The NC Department of Environmental Quality released the draft permit for the Animal Waste Digester System General Permits in February.

Before finalizing the permit, DEQ’s Division of Water Resources will hold four public meetings in April. Members of the public are invited to attend and submit comments on the draft permits.

The three draft General Permits cover the installation and operation of digester systems at existing swine, cattle and wet poultry operations. The Digester System General Permit drafts are available online. Permits will be finalized by June 30, as directed by statute.

The upcoming public meetings on the Draft General Permits will be held from 6-9 p.m. Members of the public who wish to speak at the meetings will be able to sign up upon arrival.
  • April 5, 2022: James Sprunt Community College, Monk Auditorium, 133 James Sprunt Drive, Kenansville 28349 (Duplin County)
  • April 7, 2022: Sampson County Exposition Center, 414 Warsaw Road, Clinton 28328 (Sampson County)
  • April 19, 2022: Statesville Civic Center, 300 S. Center Street, Statesville 28677 (Iredell County)
A virtual meeting will also be held through Webex from 6-9 p.m. on April 21, 2022, for those unable to attend the in-person hearings.

If you are interested in speaking at one of these events, please contact Angie@ncpork.org.
Commercial turkey flock tests positive for HPAI;
this is a reminder to pork industry to stay focused on biosecurity measures
RALEIGH – A commercial turkey operation in Johnston County has tested positive for High Path Avian Influenza. The positive sample was first identified by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Veterinary Diagnostic Lab and confirmed by the USDA APHIS National Veterinary Services Lab in Ames, Iowa.

Since late January, the HPAI virus has been found in 48 commercial farms in 12 states and 32 backyard flocks in 13 states. This is the first case of high path avian influenza in domestic poultry in North Carolina.

Since January 16, more than 100 hunter-harvested wild birds have tested positive for HPAI in North Carolina and the N.C. Wildlife Resource Commission has reported four mortalities in wild birds from the virus. 

“With HPAI in the wild bird population and other cases around the country, commercial operators and backyard flock owners have been on heightened watch for any signs of the virus in their flocks,” said State Veterinarian Mike Martin. “The industry responded quickly to the positive result, depopulating the affected flock of 32,100 and starting the composting process of the birds onsite to guard against additional spread. Under HPAI protocols, we will be actively testing other flocks within the 10 kilometer zone or about 6.2 miles in collaboration with our federal and industry partners.”

The 10 kilometer zone includes Johnston County and portions of Sampson and Wayne counties. 

This type of HPAI virus is considered a low risk to people according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, but is highly contagious to other birds, including commercial and backyard flocks of poultry. The virus is also not considered a food safety threat and infected birds do not enter the food supply.

“The threat of high path avian influenza is statewide,” said Martin. “Our poultry population is at high risk. Commercial operations and backyard flock owners should continue to follow strict biosecurity measures including keeping birds enclosed without access to wild birds or other domestic flocks. If your birds are sick or dying, report it right away to your local veterinarian, the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Veterinary Division, 919-707-3250, or the N.C. Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory System 919-733-3986.” 

The warning signs of HPAI include:
  • Reduced energy, decreased appetite, and/or decreased activity
  • Lower egg production and/or soft-shelled or misshapen eggs
  • Swelling of the head, eyelids, comb and wattles
  • Purple discoloration of the wattles, comb and legs
  • Difficulty breathing, runny nares (nose), and/or sneezing
  • Twisting of the head and neck, stumbling, falling down, tremors and/or circling
  • Greenish diarrhea

If you have questions about migratory birds, hunting, or wild waterfowl found dead on your property, visit the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s website at www.ncwildlife.org.
HPAI is not a swine disease, but it's a good reminder to stay prepared for an outbreak
Now is the time to review or create your Secure Pork Supply plan
The Secure Pork Supply (SPS) Continuity of Business Plan provides opportunities to voluntarily prepare before an outbreak. This will better position pork premises with animals that have no evidence of infection to:
  • Move animals to processing or another pork production premises under a movement permit issued by Regulatory Officials, and
  • Maintain business continuity for the swine industry, including producers, haulers, and packers during an FMD, CSF or ASF outbreak.

Talk to your integrator to see if a plan has been developed for your property and review it with your service technician. Or talk with your Livestock Agent about getting help creating a plan if you don't have one.
What we're reading:
Mark your calendars for these industry events:
Register now for NC State Swine Innovation Forum on May 12
Join NC State Swine Extension Specialists May 12 at the Maxwell Center in Goldsboro for this free educational event, including breakfast and for lunch. In person, you will have the opportunity to speak with researchers about any and all questions you have.

Keynote speakers this year are NC State’s Dr. William Flowers and Cargill’s Swine Innovation Lead Dr. Brent Frederick. Dr. Frederick also has Wolfpack ties as an NC State University alumnus.

For more information, please reach out to Ms. Bailee Arnold at bestone@ncsu.edu with questions.