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Opinion: Minnesota moving forward after bird flu outbreak

Earlier in 2015, an outbreak of bird flu devastated turkey and chicken producers in Minnesota. Recently, members of the Minnesota House Agriculture Policy and Agriculture Finance Committees met to learn more about the state's efforts to diagnose ...

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Earlier in 2015, an outbreak of bird flu devastated turkey and chicken producers in Minnesota. 

Recently, members of the Minnesota House Agriculture Policy and Agriculture Finance Committees met to learn more about the state’s efforts to diagnose and deal with the outbreak. I attended the hearing and was pleased with the response.
This is a good example of how the state can respond when facing a crisis. Experts in the field sized up the scope of the problem and determined how to handle it.
There were challenges, but today, we are more prepared to prevent an outbreak of this magnitude from happening again.
The first bird flu case was detected in Minnesota in early March. Since then, 9 million birds on 108 farms in 23 Minnesota counties were affected by the disease, including two farms in the six counties I represent.
I learned that government officials, poultry producers and other local interests worked collaboratively throughout the process and now have a better understanding about rapid response for a bird flu outbreak.
There’s always the expectation we may face this again, so it’s important to plan ahead, figure out what went right and wrong in this situation, and move forward. The safety and security of our food supply never was in question, and now we need to make sure poultry farmers can continue production.
Editor’s note: Schomacker, R-Luverne represents District 22A in the Minnesota House of Representatives.

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