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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Joe Schomacker (R)

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Thursday, September 10, 2015

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 met to learn more about the state's efforts to diagnose and deal with the epidemic.


State Representative Joe Schomacker (R-Luverne) attended the hearing and said he was pleased with the response.


"This is a good example of how the State can respond when facing a crisis," Schomacker said. "Experts in the field were able to size up the scope of the problem and determine how to handle the avian flu epidemic. There were some challenges, but today we are more prepared to prevent an outbreak of this magnitude from happening again in the future."


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, including two farms in the six counties Schomacker represents.


Schomacker learned that government officials, poultry producers, and other local interests worked collaboratively throughout the process and now have a better understanding when it comes to rapid response for an avian flu outbreak.


"There's always the expectation that 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," Schomacker said. "The safety and security of our food supply was never in question, and now we need to make sure our poultry farmers can continue their production."