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Bird flu outbreak could cost state more than $6 million

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The toll of the avian flu outbreak in Minnesota is weighing heavily on farmers and state officials, as they work quickly to try to lend support and contain the spread of the virus.

Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk said battling the virus could cost more than $6 million, the Star Tribune reports.

House and Senate lawmakers have been working on a $900,000 package for emergency response efforts, but Bakk said Monday the costs have gone up dramatically over just the past few days, according to MPR News.

State emergency officials said Monday the bird flu has spread to 55 farms in 18 counties, wiping out 3.1 million birds since the virus was confirmed in Minnesota in March. The state is the nation's largest turkey producer.

Gov. Mark Dayton held a meeting Monday afternoon to discuss the state's response to the crisis.

The National Guard was deployed Monday; two units will deliver thousands of gallons of water to farms, who will use a "foaming process" to euthanize the birds.

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar met with turkey producers Monday and tells FOX 9 she wants to see the federal government compensate farmers for all bird loss. Right now only euthanized birds are included in compensation plans, not those who die from the virus itself.

Klobuchar said farmers "broke down in tears" not knowing about the future of their farms.

The Department of Natural Resources has been testing the carcasses of wild waterfowl, and says so far none of them have shown the presence of the avian flu virus.

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