from staff reports
Mississippi has not hosted a state sanctioned American Poultry Association show in more than 30 years and has not had a state representative on the APA in more than 23 years.
That's about to change.
Dr. Shirley "Doc" Jean Johnson has been appointed as the Mississippi representative for the APA and has launched an effort to revive the state's participation in the organization dedicated to promoting and protecting standard pure-bred poultry.
Johnson, who recently retired from her position as a Behavioral Health doctor in Phoenix, returned to her hometown of Laurel, along with her husband Roy, "where they quickly became involved in raising chickens and meeting others who share their interest across the state," according to a press release by the Ag and Natural Resources division of the Lauderdale County Extension Service.
"There are many Mississippians who travel hundreds, or even thousands of miles to show their high-quality chickens and other poultry in other states," the press release states.
Johnson founded the Mississippi Poultry Show Club on a Facebook group to gauge interest. After receiving "an overwhelming response," the official group was formed as a non-profit organization and a website was set up at www.mspoultryshowclub.org. The organization's Facebook page can be found under the name, Mississippi Poultry Show Club.
The club officer’s are Leanne Brewer, vice president; Roy Johnson, treasurer and Kim Breakfield-Show, secretary.
After contacting members of the Board of Animal Health and the Fair Commission, it was decided the first American Poultry Association/American Bantam Association show hosted by the club, will be at the Mississippi State Fair, in Jackson on October 11-12th.
For those interested in showing their poultry, they may check out the club’s Facebook page or send an email to the club at email@example.com. The deadline will be September 12, 2013.
The fair will be an open show for Standard and Bantam entries in the adult and juvenile division.
In order to maintain poultry health, Johnson is encouraging all chicken growers to seek out NPIP certification by the Board of Animal Health poultry epidemiologist. It is a free service and can help maintain a disease-free flock. The number to acquire NPIP testing is 601-359-1170.
The club is seeking corporate sponsors to off-set some of the cost and assist in moving Mississippi’s poultry agriculture forward.
“The 4H/FFA are doing a wonderful job; however, If we do not get the youth of Mississippi more involved in raising backyard poultry, we might as well turn off the light when we leave the barn,” Johnson states in the press release.
The organization has been conducting informational tours across the state and will make a presentation in Meridian on Friday at the Lauderdale County Extension Service, located at 410 Constitution Avenue on the fifth floor.
The event runs from 5-7 p.m. Doors lock at 5:15 p.m. and those who arrive later than that can call 601-577-3946 to have someone let them in to the building.