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Backyard poultry campaign and 'The Chicken Whisperer'

USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has named Andy Schneider, also known as "The Chicken Whisperer," as spokesman for a national public awareness campaign aimed at preventing the spread of diseases in backyard poultry operations.

Schneider, a radio personality and magazine contributor, has become a leading expert in the backyard poultry movement that has grown quickly in recent years as American consumers seek local, fresh food. The APHIS Biosecurity For Birds program seeks to educate backyard poultry owners about preventing infectious poultry diseases, such as avian influenza.

Biosecurity for Birds began in 2004 in response to an outbreak of Exotic Newcastle Disease, which killed 4 mln birds in California and other western states in 2002-2003. The program has expanded to address other poultry diseases.

Schneider has helped many people start their own backyard flocks. He is the founder of the Atlanta Backyard Poultry Meetup group, which has more than 1,000 members, and is a Purina Poultry Ambassador who conducts poultry-owner workshops nationwide.

"I look forward to educating chicken keepers around the country about how to maintain happy and healthy flocks," said Schneider.

In addition to contributing articles to a number of magazines and having been featured on many major news networks, Schneider hosts the "Backyard Poultry with the Chicken Whisperer" radio show on.

Natalie Berkhout

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