ST. PAUL – Earlier in 2015, an outbreak of avian influenza devastated turkey and chicken producers locally and across our state. Recently, members of the Minnesota House Agriculture Policy and Agriculture Finance Committee held a joint meeting for an update on the state's efforts to diagnose and deal with the epidemic.
State Representative Tim Miller (R-Prinsburg) is a member of the committee and attended the gathering.
"The hearing gave lawmakers the opportunity to hear what our state agencies witnessed during this outbreak, what they learned, and what they hope to see in the future," Miller said.
The first avian influenza case was detected in Minnesota in early March. Since then, nine million birds on 108 farms in 23 Minnesota counties were impacted by the disease.
At the hearing, Miller was pleased to learn that government officials, poultry producers, and other local interests continue to work together to learn more about the disease and to prepare for another potential outbreak in the future.
"One official told us responding to the avian flu devastation was like building a 747 jet while it was flying in the air," Miller said. "Clearly there were challenges and problems along the way, but I believe the overall response and coordination was handled as well as it could have been, and our poultry producers are ready to return to production."