ST. PAUL (WJON News) - A new grant from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture is aimed at keeping the state’s bird flocks safe from Avian Flu.

The most recent outbreak of Avian Flu affected 150 poultry operations, resulting in the loss of more than 6 million birds across the state.

The Avian Flu has not gone unnoticed. MDA Commissioner Thom Petersen says prevention is key to protecting flock health.

With risks like chronic wasting disease and HPAI continuing to threaten Minnesota livestock, it’s crucial for farmers and ranchers to take preemptive steps to safeguard their animals.

The Protect Grant covers a wide variety of projects to keep wild birds away from Minnesota poultry operations, from the installation of fencing and electronic animal ID systems to a new laser deterrent system.

Designed by the Bird Control Group, the AVIX Autonomic Laser Bird Deterrent System projects a laser beam across areas frequented by wild birds, prompting the birds to flee. In studies from Wageningen University, the system led to a 99.7% reduction in wild bird presence.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture estimates awarding the Protect Grants to between 50 and 75 operations.

For more information, find the grant program here.

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