Agriculture & Horticulture

Avian influenza basics for urban and backyard poultry owners

2022 HPAI outbreak

HPAI is appearing throughout the United States.

Avian influenza is harmful to poultry flocks especially if it’s highly pathogenic (HPAI). Always report any signs of disease to your state agency or veterinarian. Preventing disease is the best way to keep your flock healthy.**

  • Separate your flock from disease sources including wildlife and wild birds.

  • Keep your poultry area and equipment clean.

  • Separate new or returning birds from your flock for at least 30 days.

  • Don’t share equipment between neighbors.

Many confirmed cases of HPAI have been in backyard flocks. The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service reports recent cases of HPAI including place, type of bird, and size of the flock. How does HPAI spread, and which bird species are most susceptible?

HPAI spreads quickly through direct, bird-to-bird contact. It can also be transmitted via contaminated surfaces (such as clothing, shoes, and vehicles). Wild birds can spread the virus to new areas through their feces.

Domestic poultry such as chickens and turkeys are most likely to experience severe disease and death from HPAI, with mortality rates often exceeding 90 percent. Birds of prey, ratites, and psittacines are also susceptible to HPAI infection.

What are the signs of HPAI?

The most common signs of HPAI include sudden death, decreased food and water consumption, lethargy, respiratory distress, nasal discharge, purple discoloration or swelling around the legs and head, a drop in egg production, and diarrhea.

What can you do to keep your birds safe?

There is no cure for HPAI. Good biosecurity is the key to keeping poultry safe:

  • Keep wild birds and rodents out of poultry houses and coops and away from backyard flocks and pet birds. Secure feed bins and water and consider removing bird feeders to avoid attracting wild birds.

  • Keep visitors away from birds and avoid visiting other poultry farms or other people’s birds.

  • Wash hands and scrub boots before and after entering a poultry area. Wear disposable boot covers and coveralls, if possible. If you’ve been in areas frequented by waterfowl, change clothes and shoes before handling poultry.

  • Isolate new birds or those returning from shows for 30 days before introducing them to the flock. Immediately report sick birds to your State Veterinarian at (505) 841-6161 or call USDA at 1-866-536-7593

Highly pathogenic avian influenza is a reportable disease. If your flock has sudden, high death rates or many birds with signs of HPAI, contact your veterinarian or the New Mexico Livestock Board right away.

Agriculture in San Juan County NM

Our county's agriculture must remain competitive within local, national and even international markets. This requires a continuous flow of appropriate technology addressing local needs within New Mexico. Our Extension program works to maintain and strengthen programs that address these needs. Water is one of the most important limiting resources for our county's agriculture. All aspects of water use affect agricultural efficiency and profitability. Water management will become more critical as water demands for urbanization and industrialization increase.

Livestock Production in San Juan County is an 18 million dollar industry with over 700 producers owning livestock. The majority of these operations are small family livestock enterprises located on the Navajo reservation. A recent survey of Navajo producers shows the average cattle producer owns only nine head of cows and the average sheep producer owns 25 head of ewes. These producers have herds that are marginally managed and are in need of management techniques to help improve their profitability. A 1997 survey showed that Navajo producers received only 63 percent of the market value for their livestock. Annual lamb and calf crops averaged 62% and 70% respectfully far below the national average and average for off reservation producers in this area. Producers in other areas of the county are searching for ways to enhance their management and marketing techniques to maximize their dollar return.

Upcoming Agricultural Events

Additional information can be found on our Facebook page: NMSU Ag Extension, San Juan County NM

2022 Event Schedule

May 24 9am-2pm Pesticide Applicator Training at Growing Forward Farm, CLick HERE to register online or call 505-334-9496

Current SJ County Agriculture/Horticulture Programs

San Juan County Master Gardeners

The San Juan County Master Gardener program provides intensive horticultural training to individuals who then volunteer as Master Gardeners in their communities by giving lectures, creating gardens, conducting research, and many other projects. San Juan County Master Gardeners must complete a 12 week training course and 40 hours of volunteer activity in their first year. After their initial year, volunteers are asked to complete 25 hours of volunteer work and 8 hours of continuing education.

The next San Juan County Master Gardener training course has yet to be scheduled. The 12 week long course will be a comprehensive training opportunity for avid gardening volunteers in San Juan County, NM. If you are interested in the program and would like to shadow a veteran Master Gardener or attend a meeting, please contact Bonnie Hopkins at 334-9496 or

NWNM Growers Markets

The Farmington Growers Market is located at 3041 E. Main street, Farmington NM at the Farmington Museum.

Saturday Markets 8am-noon June 8-October 31, 2021

Tuesday Markets 4-6pm July 9,-October 26, 2021

Visit Farmington Growers Market Website.

Visit Farmington Growers Market Facebook Page.

Shiprock Farmers Market The Shiprock Farmers Market is located at the Shiprock Chapter House on Saturday mornings and Wednesday evenings. Visit their [Facebook Page}( for more information.

Bloomfield Growers Market The Bloomfield Growers Market takes place every Thursday evening in Bishops Square in Bloomfield. For more information visit their Bloomfield Growers Market Facebook Page.

Kirtland Growers Market The Kirtland Growers Market takes place every Monday evening at the Kirtland Town Hall at 47 Road 6500. For more information visit their Kirtland Growers Market Facebook Page.

The Aztec Farmers Market

The Aztec Farmers Market is located at Westside Plaza, 215 S. Main in Aztec, NM Wednesdays through July 10- October 4:30-7pm Visit Aztec Farmers Market Facebook Page.

San Juan College Harvest Food Hub

The San Juan College Harvest Food Hub, an EDA University Center project, is strengthening the local food system in San Juan County by working with farmers and businesses to increase sales and consumption of locally grown produce. The goal of the food hub is to increase market opportunities for local farmers into restaurants, schools, and other retail outlets and institutions.

Visit the Food Hub Website for more information.

Invasive Weeds

The spread of invasive non-native plant species is one of the greatest threats to the long-term environmental stability and health in the Four Corners region. More than 4500 invasive weed species sightings are documented, encompassing more than 10,000 acres of infestation. Russain Knapweed is the most prevalent species followed by Musk Thistle, Canada Thistle and Hoary Cress respectfully. For control measures, picture ID, fact sheets and maps see our website listed below.

For additional information regarding weeds in NM, visit: NMSU Brush and Weed Information.

Cost Share Programs

The San Juan County Extension Office assists the SJC Farm and Range Improvement Committee (FRIC) in the distribution of cost share programs. The funding for these programs comes from the Taylor Grazing Act program, and has a limited annual budget. Applications are received into the Extension office on behalf of the FRIC. All decisions made are solely of the FRIC. For details, see each specific application.

Please mail or deliver applications to SJC Extension Office c/o FRIC 213-A South Oliver Drive Aztec NO 87410

Related Links

  • NMSU: Desert Blooms
    Links to Desert Blooms. New Mexico's gardens and landscapes can thrive anywhere, from our high snowy mountain peaks to our hot desert plains. NMSU's Extension and research programs can help you learn how to use your resources to create the ideal garden or landscape environment perfectly suited to your lifestyle

Popular Publications for San Juan County

NWNM Buy Fresh Buy Local

Bonnie Hopkins
Agriculture Agent
San Juan County Extension

Phone: 505-334-9496

Ag Notes Newsletter

  • Ag Notes Newsletter, February 2021
    The Ag Notes Newsletter is a quarterly joint newsletter between the San Juan County Cooperative Extension Service, the NMSU Farmington Ag Science Center and the San Juan Soil and Water Conservation District. Sign up below to receive a copy of the next newsletter.

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