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New network aimed at Va. backyard farmers

Thursday - 2/7/2013, 11:15am  ET

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) -- An alert system is being launched in Virginia to ensure noncommercial livestock and poultry owners are kept in the loop when it comes to threats to their animals ranging from disease to acts of terrorism.

The Animal Health Network is the product of a partnership between the Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. They'll also be working with local feed retailers.

The state veterinarian, Dr. Richard L. Wilkes, says the network enables his office to reach backyard farmers on critical animal disease alerts. He says it will be especially helpful for people who only keep a few head of livestock, laying hens, goats and horses.

The feed retailers come into play by posting the information in their stores.

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