ST. PAUL (WJON News) - The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has announced a new grant opportunity for ranchers to buy and install equipment to protect the health of their herd.

The Protecting Livestock Grant Program offers one-time grants of up to $10,000 with a 50% match.

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While all types of operations will be considered, priority will be given to:

  • Cervids (farmed elk and deer): Due to new fencing requirements passed during the 2023 legislative session.
  • Poultry and ratites (ostrich, emu): Due to the ongoing threat of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). Since 2022, the most recent outbreak has affected at least 150 poultry operations and more than 6 million birds in Minnesota.

MDA Commissioner Thom Petersen says the program will help defray some of the costs of keeping the flock safe.

With risks like chronic wasting disease and HPAI continuing to threaten Minnesota livestock, it’s important for farmers and ranchers to take proactive efforts to protect their animals. I encourage all livestock producers to apply for these grant funds to fortify their operations.

Officials say eligible projects include fencing, electronic animal ID systems, air filtration, exclusion systems, Danish entry systems, truck washes, and other strategies to prevent and mitigate disease and other risks.

Applications will be accepted through March 7th, with recipients notified no later than April 15th. For more information on the Protecting Livestock Grant Program, find the website here.

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