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Governor Walz Extends Executive Order to Help Fight the Spread of Avian Influenza

4/29/2022 4:02:00 PM

[ST. PAUL, MN] – As a part of the continued efforts to control and contain H5N1 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in Minnesota, Governor Tim Walz today signed Executive Order 22-09, extending the waiver of trucking regulations to help fight the spread of avian influenza and mitigate the risk to Minnesota’s poultry industry. The ongoing HPAI outbreak in Minnesota continues to pose a low risk to the public, and there is no food safety concern for consumers.

“Minnesota’s poultry industry is the strongest in the nation thanks to the hard work of our farmers and producers,” said Governor Walz. “I am committed to continue working with our farmers and producers to fight the ongoing HPAI outbreak and ensure our poultry industry remains strong.”

Since March 25, 2022, HPAI has been identified at 60 sites, and in nearly 20 counties throughout Minnesota. Over 2.7 million birds have been impacted by HPAI in Minnesota, including commercial turkeys, breeder hens, egg-laying chickens, and backyard flocks. Executive Order 22-09 extends Executive Order 22-05, which waived the strict enforcement of certain weight restriction regulations and hours of service requirements to assist with depopulation efforts, transportation of uninfected animals to processing facilities, and maintenance of adequate supplies to support healthy flocks. The waivers also help prevent the spread of the virus between flocks by reducing the number of trips that trucks need to make to farm sites. Poultry growers and industry associations have requested continued help to support the safe and efficient movement of commodities used in HPAI emergency response efforts.

Last month, Governor Walz announced the activation of a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) emergency response team in Minnesota to support the state’s disease control and containment efforts of H5N1. The USDA emergency team is working with the state’s Agricultural Incident Management Team – a team of experts from the Minnesota Board of Animal Health and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture – to respond to the incident. Governor Walz, state officials, and congressional members recently traveled to Willmar to speak with poultry producers and farmers that who have been directly impacted by the outbreak. The Governor also signed an Avian Influenza response bill into law, advancing the state’s continued efforts to control and contain HPAI in Minnesota by providing $1 million for emergency response activities, including disease surveillance and purchasing testing supplies.

Minnesota is ranked first in the nation in turkey production, with more than 660 turkey farms that raise about 40 million birds annually. Turkey production generates $774 million in cash receipts annually, and in 2020, Minnesota exported about 15% of its production, worth approximately $114 million.

More information on the confirmed cases, including information and resources for farmers and flock owners, can be found on the Board of Animal Health’s response website.

Poultry is safe to eat, and proper handling and cooking of poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165˚F is always advised. The Centers for Disease Control also recently announced this strain of avian influenza is a low risk to the public. No human cases of these avian influenza viruses have been detected in the United States.

Executive Order 22-09 is effective immediately, and it extends the provisions of Executive Order 22-05 for an additional 30 days, until May 29, 2022.

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