Alabama Department of Agriculture

A rare form of mad cow disease has been found in Alabama, according to state officials.

Alabama Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan released a statement saying atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy was confirmed in an 11 year old beef cow.

The U.S. Depertment of Agriculture says this is only the fifth case of this particular form of the disease ever confirmed in the United States.

McMillan says the disease was discovered during routine screening at a livestock market. The infected cow wasn’t slaughtered, and its meat didn’t enter the food chain.

The state is locating farms that have been in the same family for at least 200 years as part of Alabama's bicentennial commemoration.  

The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries says it wants to highlight farms that have been owned by the same family for at least 200 years. But first, the agency has to locate those operations.

Lindsay Turner Trammell
Schoolyard Roots

Since 2010, the Druid City Garden Project has operated teaching gardens in Tuscaloosa city and county elementary schools. The gardens enhance students’ math, science and even English classes – and a University of Alabama study has shown working in the school gardens has not only improved students’ education, but also their eating habits and propensity to eat healthier food options.

Now, the organization is announcing some changes to take the program beyond the boundaries of Tuscaloosa.

Tropical Storm Cindy dumped a lot of rain on the state of Alabama, and Governor Kay Ivey is now looking for federal help for the state's farmers due to potential crop losses.

Ivey sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Friday asking for a federal disaster declaration in some Alabama counties.

She wrote that a large number of Alabama agricultural producers have "experienced significant losses" because of Tropical Storm Cindy. Ivey says farmers in the southern and central portions of the state had been impacted the most.

Alabama is getting a $100,000 federal grant to encourage school districts to buy fresh local fruits and vegetables.

 The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries said Friday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture grant will support a coalition called the Alabama Farm to School Cooperative.

State agriculture officials are banning poultry sales in Alabama over concerns about avian influenza.

The Cullman Times reports Alabama Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan issued an order Wednesday prohibiting bird sales, poultry exhibitions and the transportation of birds.

State veterinarian Tony Frazier says the order is the most effective way to prevent the possible spread of the illness.

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