Michigan will pay dairy farmers to help government investigate bird flu outbreak

Michigan will pay dairy farmers to help government investigate bird flu outbreak

Michigan will offer financial assistance to dairy farmers who aid in the government’s research into bird flu outbreaks, the state announced Tuesday.

Michigan’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) said in its announcement that financial assistance of up to $28,000 per farm will be available for up to 20 farms. At least 25 dairy cow herds in the state have been affected by the bird flu so far, according to the department.

The announcement said that farmers must work with the department and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s Veterinary Services in their epidemiological investigations on their farms. Farmers must also participate in “real-time longitudinal studies research” about dairy herds with MDARD and Michigan State University.

“We understand our dairy farmers are facing unprecedented challenges, and this action is an important step toward supporting them during this emergency,” MDARD Director Tim Boring said in a statement.

He said the farms impacted by the bird flu “have been incredibly cooperative” in helping combat the disease.

“The research opportunities through this package will help us advance science in real-time to best develop our continued rapid response,” he added.

The H5N1 strain of bird flu has caused an outbreak among livestock in the U.S. and infected at least three dairy farm workers, including two in the state of Michigan. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has maintained that the public health risk remains low.

In an update earlier this month, the Department of Agriculture said 92 dairy cow herds in 12 U.S. states have had confirmed cases of H5N1 virus.

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