ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The new state budget Minnesota lawmakers are assembling supplies $16.5 million to aid in the state’s response to the avian flu.

The appropriation, outlined Saturday, includes $10 million toward a low-interest loan fund for poultry farmers who suffered bird losses from the flu itself. Many saw flocks wiped out after they euthanized birds to halt the outbreak’s spread. The loans would assist farmers in replenishing flocks.

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The federal government only reimburses farmers for euthanized animals.

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The rest of the state money would go to state agencies and boards working to contain the avian flu in Minnesota.

More than 5.7 million birds have been affected to date in the nation’s top turkey-producing state.

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