From the Office of Paul Anderson - State Representative 12B
The House Agriculture Policy and Finance Committees held a joint informational hearing last week to hear from experts working to stop the spread of the H5N2 Avian Influenza that is attacking Minnesota’s poultry industry. At last count, 26 farms have been affected in 14 counties, with at least 12 additional cases reported in the past week. Kandiyohi and Stearns, the two leading turkey producing counties in Minnesota, have the most barns that have been hit.
The lead testifier at last Thursday’s hearing was Dr. John Cilfford, the chief veterinarian with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington. He reported that $15 million has been allocated to Minnesota to aid in the fight against the disease, and that Ag. Secretary Tom Vilsack is “on top of the situation” and has requested additional funding for Minnesota.
It’s hoped that warmer weather will aid in slowing down the spread of the disease. The virus cannot survive temperatures over 80 degrees, and upcoming summer weather will help curtail the disease. However, according to Dr. Bill Hartmann, head of the state’s Board of Animal Health, even if the disease is stopped now, more cases are likely this fall when temps cool off again and migratory birds begin their annual flights south.