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Dayton behind loan proposal for farmers hit by bird flu

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Gov. Mark Dayton says he's behind a move to offer loans to Minnesota poultry farmers hit hard by bird flu.

A bill at the Legislature would open $10 million up to farmers with birds who caught the highly pathogenic virus. Every farmer could get up to $200,000 to replace flocks, make building improvements or otherwise cover their losses.

The H5N2 virus has led to the death of some 4 million birds in Minnesota. The federal government reimburses farmers for birds they euthanize after a confirmed infection, but not for birds killed by the flu itself. That's been a big blow to Minnesota, the country's largest turkey producer.

Dayton signed a bill Friday for about $900,000 in emergency funding to fight the flu outbreak.

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