- Associated Press - Thursday, March 16, 2017

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama agriculture officials say a ban on selling and moving poultry doesn’t affect commercial chicken farmers.

Agriculture Department spokeswoman Amy Belcher says an order issued by Commissioner John McMillan only applies to backyard farmers or people who raise birds as a hobby.

She says commercial farms aren’t included because their birds are regularly tested and confirmed disease-free before leaving poultry houses.

The ban follows confirmation of avian flu in Tennessee, plus possible cases in the north Alabama counties of Jackson, Lauderdale and Madison counties.

A statement from the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries says no affected birds have entered the food chain.

The Alabama Poultry and Egg Association says poultry is the state’s largest agriculture sector, generating about $15 billion in annual revenues and employing more than 86,000 people.

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