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Franken to Trump: Action Needed to Stop Avian Flu Spread
Minnesota Ag Connection - 03/15/2017

Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) pressed President Trump to put in place measures to prevent the recent avian influenza outbreak--which has hit producers in Wisconsin and Tennessee--from spreading to Minnesota and other states.

In a letter to Trump Tuesday, Sen. Franken said the 2015 avian influenza outbreak cost Minnesota's economy nearly $650 million, and he urged quick preventive action by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and for the administration to adequately fund current and future efforts to fight the disease.

"You inherit a system for fighting avian influenza outbreaks that was improved after the 2015 disaster through Federal collaboration with state and local government, universities, and the poultry industry. One of the important pieces in this fight will be the newly expanded Minnesota Poultry Testing laboratory that opened in Willmar, Minnesota to conduct surveillance of high pathogenic avian influenza as part of the National Poultry Improvement Plan," Sen. Franken wrote in his letter. "However, we must not be caught flat-footed in responding to this agricultural emergency. I look forward to working with you to make sure that the federal government is prepared."

In 2015, when Minnesota producers were hard hit by avian influenza, Sen. Franken pressed the Obama Administration to support Minnesota farmers whose production was hurt or threatened by the outbreak. He also helped convene a meeting in Willmar with Governor Mark Dayton, along with local, state, and federal officials, to facilitate a coordinated response to the virus.

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