Minnesota announces funding for avian influenza prevention

The initiative covers a wide range of preventive measures

calendar icon 13 March 2024

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2 minute read

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has announced a new grant opportunity aimed at safeguarding the state’s livestock from diseases and other risks.

This initiative, named the Protect Grant, covers a wide range of preventive measures. Eligible projects include the installation of fencing and electronic animal ID systems, as well as innovative solutions such as laser bird deterrents intended to discourage wild species from poultry operations

Entitled the Protect Grant, this initiative offers competitive grants of up to $10,000, requiring a 50% match. While accessible to all livestock operations, priority consideration is extended to those engaged in cervid and poultry production, given the persistent battle against highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) since 2022.

The gravity of the situation is undeniable. The recent outbreak of avian flu has impacted over 150 poultry operations, resulting in the loss of more than 6 million birds across Minnesota. In light of these challenges, MDA Commissioner Thom Petersen stresses the importance of proactive measures, stating, “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.”

With $500,000 in funding available, the MDA anticipates granting 50 to 75 deserving applicants. The application period is open until March 7, 2024, with notifications scheduled for no later than April 15. 

“We appreciate the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Protect Grant initiative to safeguard livestock, especially given the threat of avian influenza,” said Jack Vlaminck, president of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association. “We encourage poultry farmers to seize this opportunity for proactive measures and explore innovative solutions like the AVIX Autonomic Laser Bird Deterrent.”

Designed by Bird Control Group, the AVIX Autonomic Laser Bird Deterrent system has showcased remarkable efficacy in stemming the spread of avian influenza by dissuading wild waterfowl from poultry farms.

Research from Wageningen University underscores the profound impact of the AVIX Autonomic system. In a study conducted on a free-range poultry farm, the laser bird deterrent demonstrated an astounding 99.7% reduction rate in wild bird presence.

The mechanism behind the laser bird deterrent is both ingenious and effective. By projecting a green laser beam across areas frequented by birds, the system creates the illusion of a physical threat, prompting birds to instinctively flee. This proactive approach not only mitigates the risk of direct contact between wild birds and domestic poultry but also minimizes potential contamination of shared water sources.

Such validation underscores the transformative potential of AVIX laser technology as a frontline defense against Avian Influenza outbreaks in poultry farms.

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