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Grant program to help farms impacted by Avian Flu

Posted at 5:58 PM, Jun 18, 2024
  • The Avian Flu continues to have an impact in our neighborhoods
  • A new grant program in Michigan aims to help farms impacted by the virus
  • Video shows state agriculture leader explaining how farms could get in exchange for research on the virus

The Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development has a new way to help farms impacted by the highly pathogenic avian influenza, commonly known as bird flu.
MDARD says up to 20 farms will be eligible for up to $28,000 in grants. A spokesperson says they're directly contacting any impacted farms.

In exchange for those funds, the farms would work with the state to gather research on a virus that poses many questions says MDARD director Dr. Tim Boring.

WATCH: Full interview with MDARD Director Dr. Tim Boring

"We're looking for some research cooperation of just building out our understanding of what the viral characteristics on the animal and human side have been," Boring said.

According to MDARD data, 19 of the last 20 detections of the bird flu have been found in dairy cattle farms. Three of those last four cases were detected at dairy farms in Clinton County.

Most cases, says Boring, are around west and central Michigan.

"We've continued to see this general cluster of the virus detection here in the state which leads us to a lot of conclusions around what those potential transmission pathways might be," Boring said.

The risk of infection to humans remains low after two farm workers were infected and later recovered. Boring says researchers still want to understand how the virus functions and mutates in animals and humans.

"We're only something like 10 weeks into our entire understanding of this virus in a dairy cattle," Boring said. "We've got a pretty short horizon of understanding what the long-term impacts of this disease are."

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