Bird flu funding on way to Dayton's desk

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The first slice of emergency funding for the state's response to a deadly bird flu outbreak is heading to Gov. Mark Dayton.

The Senate unanimously passed a bill sending nearly $900,000 to the Board of Animal Health and the Department of Agriculture for response efforts. The House passed the same bill Wednesday and Dayton has promised to sign it.

To date, nearly 4 million turkeys and chickens at 67 Minnesota farms have died or been euthanized.

State officials are mulling an additional $7 million to cover response costs over the next year and setting up a low-interest loan program for affected farmers.

House lawmakers introduced a bill Thursday to compensate farmers for birds that died of the flu. The federal government only reimburses farmers for euthanized animals.

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