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Emergency trainings keep ag officials prepared

Michigan’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Director tells Brownfield emergency trainings are helping the state mitigate the spread of disease and invasive species.

Gary McDowell says, “This year alone we have done 10 exercises, we call them our sampling teams, where every employee at MDARD is cross-trained in case of an emergency.”

He says emergency management incident teams are deployed during outbreaks, like when Spotted Wing Lanternfly was detected in Southeast Michigan in August.

“Everybody down there knew exactly what they needed to do at that time and, as of right now, we have been able to contain that,” he shares.

McDowell says an additional $1.6 million in the Governor’s budget will allow for more training moving forward.

“Now we’re going to bring the stakeholders in more to actually have some of the producers, the people in that industry working with us, to be even better prepared for the next situation,” he explains.

McDowell highlighted the efforts during this week’s National Association of State Agriculture Departments Annual Meeting.

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