On Thursday, the Minnesota House of Representatives declared an urgency, suspending the rules, to take up legislation providing emergency funds to the Department of Agriculture and Board of Animal Health in order to better prevent and respond to the avian influenza outbreak that has devastated Minnesota turkey flocks. The House of Representatives voted unanimously in favor of this measure.
To date, 14 counties in Minnesota have been affected by avian influenza including Ottertail, Roseau, Kandiyohi, Stearns, Cottonwood, Lac Qui Parle, Le Sueur, Lyon, Meeker, Nobles, Pope, Redwood, Swift and Watonwan.
It is estimated that 1.5 million turkeys have been lost as a result of the outbreak.
Fortunately officials believe that we do not have to worry about humans contracting the disease, the bad news is that the outbreak is causing damage to Minnesota’s $800 million turkey farming industry.
While officials have stated that the food system has been uninterrupted by the current breakout, about four dozen nations have banned Minnesota poultry including the European Union and most of Central America.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, there are three basic rules for security when dealing with a potential outbreak:
Don’t wait. If your birds are sick or dying, contact your local cooperative extension office, your veterinarian or the state veterinarian or state animal/poultry diagnostic laboratory at 1-866-536-7593.
It is believed that the outbreak will eventually subside, but for the near future I urge farmers to be vigilant in watching for sick birds.
In other Ag related news, I have heard concerns from local farmers regarding the unseasonably dry soil conditions. This week, I spoke with a farmer who is worried about the majority of his top soil being blown away due to high winds and dry conditions. He expressed his desire to plant a small amount of alfalfa to prevent the top soil from being lost, but is unable to do so due to DNR restrictions on water use that do not allow for irrigating to begin before May 1st.
Due to the unseasonably dry conditions, I believe that the DNR should be more flexible in these regulations and give farmers the option to address issues surrounding the unseasonably dry soil. The good news is that there is rain in the forecast for this weekend, but we need to make sure that we are prepared for situations such as this in the future.
House Passes Pro-2nd Amendment Bills
On Thursday, the House passed four pro 2nd Amendment bills that protect your rights, as law abiding citizens, to keep and bear arms.
HF 372- notice of possession of firearms at the Capitol complex requirement amended
HF 830- clarifies that long guns can be purchased from and sold to persons in other states
HF 1434- legalizes the use of firearm suppressors that are lawfully possessed under federal law.
HF 722- clarifies the authority of a public official or entity to seize or regulate weapons during a state of emergency.
2015 Legislative Survey
Your input on issues being debated at the Capitol this session is extremely important. Please take my 2015 Legislative Survey by clicking the link below. Your feedback is appreciated!
I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with me! Hearing from the people of 8B helps to ensure I'm representing the priorities of our community.
Also, please be sure to share the survey with friends and family.
Staying in Touch
As always, please feel free to contact me via e-mail at Rep.Mary.Franson@House.MN or contact my office at 651-296-3201. You can also send mail to my office address: 517 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155.