A bonding bill being considered by the Minnesota state legislature includes funding for improvements to the Minnesota Poultry Testing Laboratory, which has been actively involved in testing birds for avian influenza.
The bill is being prepared for an expected upcoming special legislative session.
State Rep. Dave Baker, a Republican from Willmar, said the $179,999,000 bonding bill includes $8,529,000 for laboratory improvements. It has not been yet determined how the proposed funds for the lab would be put to use, but they could be used for new equipment, expansion of the current lab or for construction of a new lab.
The poultry laboratory, located in Willmar, has been exceptionally busy in recent months, as it has been used for testing for diseases, including highly pathogenic avian influenza, which has severely disrupted turkey and egg production in the state.
Minnesota has had more cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza confirmed than any other state, with 95 reported as of June 4. Kandiyohi County, where the lab is located, has had nearly 40 of those cases, according to the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).