Bill to set aside $250,000 for blackbird damage prevention

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Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, and Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., have announced that the Senate and House Fiscal Year 2018 Appropriations bills will make $250,000 available to help prevent blackbird damage to crops.

The funding will specifically support the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Health Inspection Service's use of fixed-wing aircraft to repel birds from fields.

According to the National Sunflower Association, blackbird damage is a persistent problem for growers costing about $11 million a year on average.

Both the Senate and Health Appropriations committees have approved their respective bills and now await approval by the Senate and House of Representatives.