Bipartisan group of Senators calling for additional avian flu funding

A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators is pushing for more dollars to aid in the response to high-path avian influenza.

Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley says after the outbreak in 2015, Congress gave USDA the authority to quickly reimburse producers for depopulation.

“So I’m glad we’re not having any problems with reimbursement on this outbreak, still we need to make sure that USDA has all tools available.”

Grassley and Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar led their colleagues in a letter to Senate Appropriations Committee leaders Monday, saying although the virus poses minimal risk to human health, it has serious implications for U.S. poultry producers, rural communities, and the ag economy.

The letter requests additional funding for the APHIS avian health program.

Senators from Brownfield states who signed the letter include Democrats Tina Smith of Minnesota and Dick Durbin of Illinois.

To date, there have been nearly 300 cases of avian flu in the U.S. across 32 states.

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