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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2015 9:20 am 
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Minnesota has declared a state of emergency due to Fujian H5N2.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2015 9:25 am 
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Now,Therefore, I hereby order that:
1. A state of emergency exists in Minnesota, and poultry feed trucks, poultry load-out trailers,
and emergency operation equipment used for highly pathogenic avian influenza response, be
exempted from the seasonal load restrictions on local and state highways and streets,
imposed in Minnesota Statutes, section 169.87, while responding to the emergency.
Pursuant to Minnesota Statutes, section 4.035, subdivision 2, this Order is effective immediately and
must be filed with the Secretary of State and published in the State Register as soon as possible after its
issuance. This order shall remain in effect until June 1, 2015, or until the conclusion of the emergency.
In Testimony Whereof, I have set my hand on this lOth day of April, 2015.

https://www.bah.state.mn.us/media/EO-15-06.pdf

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2015 9:31 am 
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Emergency Executive Order 15-06

Providing for Relief from Regulations to Certain Motor Carriers and Drivers

Operating in Minnesota

I, Mark Dayton, Governor of the State of Minnesota, by virtue of the power vested in me by the
Constitution and applicable statutes, do hereby issue this Executive Order:
Whereas, on March 5, 2015, the United States Department of Agriculture ' s (USDA) Animal and Plant
Health Inspection Service and the Minnesota Board of Animal Health confirmed the presence of highly
pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza in a commercial turkey flock in Minnesota, and since then the disease
has been identified in nine different locations across the state;
Whereas, it is urgent that immediate action be taken to prevent further economic hardship in the state's
turkey industry;
Whereas, unaffected farms need feed and water transported to healthy flocks;
Whereas, emergency operation equipment will likely be exposed to H5N2 avian influenza while
responding to affected sites and a reduced number of trips to poultry farms further tightens statewide
biosecurity which is critical to lowering the risk that the virus could be introduced to non-infected farms;
Whereas, the seasonal load restrictions, as described in Minnesota Statutes, section 169.87, are
currently in effect in the entire state; and
Whereas, the USDA has identified that the increased number of trips resulting from seasonal load
restrictions, specifically for poultry feed trucks, poultry load-out trailers, and emergency operation
equipment used for highly pathogenic avian influenza response, could potentially spread H5N2 avian
influenza.

Now,Therefore, I hereby order that:
1. A state of emergency exists in Minnesota, and poultry feed trucks, poultry load-out trailers,
and emergency operation equipment used for highly pathogenic avian influenza response, be
exempted from the seasonal load restrictions on local and state highways and streets,
imposed in Minnesota Statutes, section 169.87, while responding to the emergency.
Pursuant to Minnesota Statutes, section 4.035, subdivision 2, this Order is effective immediately and
must be filed with the Secretary of State and published in the State Register as soon as possible after its
issuance. This order shall remain in effect until June 1, 2015, or until the conclusion of the emergency.
In Testimony Whereof, I have set my hand on this lOth day of April, 2015.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2015 10:49 am 
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Bird flu may persist for several years in Minnesota, rest of U.S.
Article by: MIKE HUGHLETT , Star Tribune Updated: April 16, 2015 - 8:45 PM
State OKs more funding to fight the virus that has affected $1.6M turkeys.

The unprecedented U.S. bird flu outbreak that is centered in Minnesota is likely to stick around for a few years and possibly damage poultry farms across the nation, a top U.S. veterinary official said Thursday.

“This is something very unusual, where we have seen bird flu adapt so well, ” John Clifford, chief veterinary officer for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), told a Minnesota House agriculture committee.

The House voted unanimously late Thursday to pony up almost $900,000 to help state agencies battle the bug. For lost birds in Minnesota alone, the flu’s tab is already in the tens of millions of dollars.

The USDA has already spent $15 million helping stricken farmers, and that’s just the beginning.

The flu was confirmed Thursday on four more Minnesota turkey farms, bringing the total to 26, with more than 1.6 million birds affected. The disease also was reported at a commercial turkey farm with 126,000 birds in western Wisconsin’s Barron County; and at a back yard flock of 40 birds in eastern Wisconsin.

Plus, another outbreak at a South Dakota turkey farm was disclosed, bringing the number in that state to four. Altogether, at least 12 states have been affected by the virus.

“It’s something in North America that we may have to live with for a few years,” Clifford told legislators. “It will very likely reoccur later this fall, and not just in Minnesota, but in all four flyways,” he said, referring to major waterfowl migration routes across North America. “It can impact poultry across the United States.”

The lethal H5N2 bird flu is believed to originate in waterfowl that don’t get sick from the virus but spread it through their feces. Once it’s in a waterfowl population, the virus can persist for three to five years, Carol Cardona, veterinary biosciences professor at the University of Minnesota, said at the hearing.

Clifford, based out of Washington, D.C., has been in Minnesota to assess the bird flu situation since Tuesday. He’s met with farmers and executives from turkey companies, including Jennie-O, a division of Hormel Foods and one of the nation’s largest turkey processors. The USDA has sent dozens of employees to Minnesota to help state animal health regulators respond to the virus.

Domestic turkeys are particularly susceptible to the H5N2 virus, and Minnesota is the nation’s leading turkey producer, churning out about 46 million birds a year. Roughly one-third of Minnesota turkey deaths come directly from the flu, while the rest come from the policy of killing all birds on a farm — even those not infected — out of precaution.

For those birds lost through culling, the USDA pays an indemnity to farmers. “It doesn’t make growers whole, but it helps,” Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson told legislators.

Clifford said the USDA has spent about $15 million in emergency funds on bird flu in Minnesota, most of it in indemnity payments to turkey growers.

USDA officials couldn’t say how many farms hit in Minnesota have gotten USDA payouts so far. But the payments will surely rise, and Clifford said in an interview with the Star Tribune that he expects the USDA to come through with more money.

On average, it takes $2 million to euthanize a flock, Clifford said, including costs such as disinfecting barns after turkey “compost” is removed. The birds are composted for 28 days with wood chips and manure, which kills the virus, animal health officials say. The compost that’s left is usually spread on farm fields. It looks “something similar to large chunks of dirt,” Frederickson said.

The payouts for dead birds depend on market prices and the age of the birds; the older and closer to being slaughtered, the higher the payment. The virus is particularly striking older turkeys. The payout for a mature bird near slaughter might be about $25, Clifford said.

Farmers bear the cost of birds killed directly by the flu, as insurance for avian disease is rare. Direct losses for Minnesota farmers were more than $15 million for the first 900,000 birds killed, according to the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association. Also, farmers hit by the bird flu face a huge business interruption: Their barns can be out of commission for months.

Thursday, the USDA confirmed new outbreaks at turkey farms in Stearns, Kandiyohi, Otter Tail and Roseau counties. The Roseau outbreak is the first in Minnesota’s far north; the outbreaks in Stearns and Kandiyohi are respectively those counties’ sixth and fifth. They are the state’s two biggest turkey-producing countries.

Jennie-O reported on its website that the newly afflicted Kandiyohi and Otter Tail sites are farms that supply it with turkey. The Stearns County and Barron County, Wis., farms are owned directly by Jennie-O. So far, 18 Jennie-O suppliers, including company-owned farms, have been hit.

http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/he ... 51221.html

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2015 5:24 am 
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Minn. Lawmakers Shore Up Response Funds as Bird Flu Wracks State

Updated: 04/21/2015 5:42 PM
Created: 04/21/2015 2:19 PM WDIO.com
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Lawmakers moved Tuesday to provide emergency money as Minnesota struggles to get a deadly bird flu outbreak under wraps.

The Senate unanimously passed a bill providing nearly $900,000 in emergency funding to the state for its ongoing response efforts, calling the outbreak a "crisis."

The deadly H5N2 virus has so far cost Minnesota - the country's top turkey-producing state - more than 2 million turkeys after being detected on more than 30 farms. The deadly H5N2 virus has so far continues to spread in the nation's largest turkey-producing state. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has sent in several teams of experts to monitor and stem the virus' spread.

But the legislative funding could get temporarily hung up over a disagreement between House Republicans and Senate Democrats.

Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt reiterated Tuesday he wouldn't accept a bill with unrelated language that Senate Democrats tucked into the legislation that would move back a reporting deadline on the state's budget reserves. The dispute may send lawmakers into a conference committee to iron out the dispute before sending the bill to the governor.

Gov. Mark Dayton promised to sign the bill as soon as it hits his desk. He said the virus' threat is still growing and state officials aren't yet sure of its total scope.

"We will come through for those turkey producers who suffered these terrible losses," the governor vowed Tuesday. "We can never do enough in a situation like this."

http://www.wdio.com/article/stories/S37 ... ?cat=12095

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2015 4:30 pm 
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Dayton declares state of emergency over bird flu epidemic; 1st Minnesota chicken farm hit

By KIA FARHANG AND STEVE KARNOWSKI, ASSOCIATED PRESS
April 23, 2015 - 3:11 PM


ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton declared a peacetime state of emergency Thursday to fight a deadly form of bird flu that has already killed millions of birds in the country's top turkey-producing state.

Dayton signed an executive order directing the emergency management division to activate its response plan and support the efforts of the Board of Animal Health and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to cope with the epidemic. Dayton said the order was needed to establish clearer "command and control" and dictate the roles entities will have in the response.

"This is a moving target and the number of farms affected continues to increase," Dayton said. "We don't know what the ceiling will be."

The governor also directed the Minnesota National Guard to provide personnel and equipment as needed but made it clear he wasn't yet mobilizing troops. His administration also stressed that the public health risk remains low.

"The poultry on grocery store shelves has always been safe and will continue to be safe," state Agriculture Commissioner Dennis Frederickson said.

Outbreaks of the highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza strain have already cost Minnesota turkey producers nearly 2.6 million birds since early March, while the toll at turkey and chicken farms across the Midwest has topped 7 million birds.

Final confirmations were still pending Thursday from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for three chicken and turkey farms Minnesota and Wisconsin that had over 1 million more birds. That includes the first chicken farm in Minnesota to be affected, J&A Farms near Lake Park in Clay County, which is an egg-laying operation.


Co-owner Jareb Baer said Thursday he spotted a few dead and sickly birds in their flock of 275,000 hens Monday morning. They got preliminary positive results back from a lab in South Dakota that night for the H5N2 virus, he said. About 1,200 of their birds have died so far.

"It was a pretty sick feeling," Baer said. "I kind of knew right away. I didn't even need for the results to come back."

While they awaited final confirmation from the USDA, Baer said they were proceeding with plans to euthanize the rest of the flock, which supplied eggs to supermarkets in northern Minnesota. He said their farm hadn't delivered any eggs since last week, and the eggs that were still out there on the market have been pulled back.

http://m.startribune.com/lifestyle/heal ... 05881.html

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2015 4:47 pm 
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Gov. Dayton declares state of emergency over bird flu outbreak
Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune Updated: April 23, 2015 - 3:12 PM
The flu has hit the first commercial chicken farm in addition to more than 40 turkey farms.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has declared a state of emergency over a bird flu outbreak that’s killed millions of birds in the state’s poultry industry.

The governor’s order activates an emergency operations plan to support the state response to the epidemic.

It also calls for National Guard personnel to be ordered to duty as needed, but it wasn’t immediately clear whether any personnel would be mobilized.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported the bird flu’s presence in 13 additional turkey flocks in Minnesota. That brought the state’s overall total to 44. Chicken operations in Iowa and Wisconsin have also been hit by the bird flu. There are 16 states now coping with the disease in commercial bird operations.

It also hit the first Minnesota chicken farm. A third-generation egg producer in northwestern Minnesota has been hit by the bird flu, marking the first time since this outbreak began that the disease has been detected in the state in commercially-raised chickens.

Amon Baer said his J & A Farms, about 20 miles west of Detroit Lakes, must destroy roughly 300,000 chickens after his testing on Monday confirmed the presence of the highly pathogenic H5N2 bird flu.

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health said Thursday that the agency is aware of the “presumptive positive” at J & A Farms and is in the process of formal confirmation.

Because of its presence in other states’ chicken flocks, said Board of Animal Health spokeswoman Bethany Hahn, “it’s not too surprising” that the bird flu would hit a chicken operation in Minnesota.

The state’s farmers raise roughly 47 million chickens a year for meat and another 10.4 million for eggs. Annual egg production in Minnesota averages nearly 3 billion. Those totals do not put Minnesota near the top nationally, while the state does lead the United States in turkey production.

Baer said his father started the egg-production company in 1965, and his sons are also in the business. His hope is one of his eight grandchildren will take over, but he’s worried about the disease derailing the company financially.

“The requirements are that the entire [flock] be depopulated,” Baer said. And while there is federal assistance available to cover some of the farm’s losses, it doesn’t come close to covering the entire expense, he added.

“This is something that is very expensive, cleaning, disinfecting in order to get permission to restock the facility,” Baer said. “We have to prove that we don’t have the virus anymore before we can repopulate.”

Baer said his farm has never run into a problem of this magnitude since it began operating in 1965, adding that he runs “a very, very expensive vaccination program.”

He laments that there has yet to be “a viable vaccination” for the H5N2 strain of the bird flu.

The USDA’s Poultry Research Laboratory in Georgia is working on the vaccine for poultry.

“We are making progress on that,” David Swayne, the lab’s director, said in the conference call Wednesday.

Although no human illnesses have been reported in connection with the H5N2 outbreak and national and state public health officials believe the risk to be low, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention scientists are trying to develop a human vaccine.



The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/he ... y#continue

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2015 12:39 pm 
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Editorial: Avian flu impact is serious for state
By Tribune Opinion Today at 7:03 a.m.

Minnesota is now under a five-day state of emergency due to the growing death total of poultry across the state from a serious avian flu outbreak. Gov. Mark Dayton has called an executive meeting for Monday to consider extending the state of emergency up to 30 days.

Legislative leaders are working on contingency plans to provide easy access to emergency response funding for state agencies battling the bird flu outbreak.

Two additional cases of avian influenza were confirmed Friday in Kandiyohi County. The first case was confirmed Friday in Clay County in northwest Minnesota, which is also the first case in a commercial chicken flock.

This brings the total number of farms with confirmed bird flu infections in Minnesota to 49 farms in 17 countries across the state. All of these farms remain under quarantine.

The latest total of birds affected in Minnesota is 2.63 million. All of these birds have or will be destroyed.

This death toll nearing 3 million is significant as Minnesota has only about 15 million turkeys in barns at any given time, according to state agricultural officials. The state also produces about 47 million chickens per year.

Animal health officials are investigating additional possible cases of bird flu virus in other Minnesota poultry flocks.

Federal and state officials are meeting in Willmar today to discuss the avian flu crisis. Those officials include U.S. Senator Al Franken, Congressman Collin Peterson, Gov. Mark Dayton, state Representative Dave Baker and multiple state agency leaders.

The meeting will include a private meeting with emergency responders at 2 p.m. to discuss the state and federal response to the bird flu.

A public forum will be held at 3 p.m. at the MinnWest Technology Campus to answer questions from area turkey producers and members of the public.

State health official have said there is no health risk to the general public as there have been no cases of H5N2 being transmitted from bird to human. And no diseased bird has entered the food chain, according to industry officials.

However, this is a serious outbreak of avian influenza, likely the worst in three decades. The virus has now spread to 16 states and is already impacting a $5 billion export market. This, in turn, is impacting Minnesota poultry processors, such as Jennie-O Turkey Store and Golden Plump.

What Minnesota and its poultry industry needs right now is a week of 65 degrees or warmer weather to curb continued growth of this avian influenza outbreak. That would be beneficial as the virus does not survive well in such warm weather.

It is time for a thank you for federal and state government employees, which now totals over 200, who are working in Minnesota on the avian influenza disease front. From everyone in west central Minnesota and the rest of the state, thank you for your efforts.

http://www.wctrib.com/opinion/editorial ... ious-state

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2015 3:22 pm 
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Bird flu takes toll on health of Hormel's Jennie-O
Article by: MIKE HUGHLETT , Star Tribune Updated: April 25, 2015 - 1:01 PM
At least 29 turkey suppliers to the Hormel unit have been hit by the virus, forcing cuts in production.


Image
Twenty-nine Jennie-O suppliers have been hit by the bird flu, 14 of them company-owned. As of Thursday, 45 of 600 commercial farms in Minnesota had been hit.
Photo: David Joles • djoles@startribune.com,

The lethal bird flu sweeping across Minnesota has taken a nasty swipe at one of Hormel Foods Corp.’s top-performing businesses: Jennie-O Turkey Store.

With at least 29 Jennie-O suppliers — including 14 company-owned farms — devastated by the virus, Hormel announced last week that its turkey production would be reduced, pressuring the Austin-based company’s profits.

Jennie-O’s bird flu challenge came up rather suddenly. The highly pathogenic H5N2 virus surfaced in early March but has grown to epidemic proportions during the past few weeks in Minnesota, the nation’s largest turkey producer.

Stock analysts who follow Hormel said they believe the bird flu’s effects will be temporary, and animal health authorities believe consistently warmer weather will stop the virus’ spread for the spring season. Gov. Mark Dayton — who was set Saturday to meet with U.S. Sen. Al Franken, Rep. Collin Peterson, farmers and emergency responders in Willmar — has declared a state of emergency, as well, strengthening the efforts of state and federal agencies at attacking the virus.

Analysts also said they believe Hormel’s diversification will mitigate the impact, the analysts said. The company produces everything from bacon to canned chili and Skippy peanut butter.

Still, the bird flu is a significant uncertainty. While the virus poses no food safety hazards, there’s always the chance that consumers will get spooked anyway, analysts say.

“The ultimate impact is still unclear at this point,” said Erin Lash, an analyst at Morningstar. Hormel “doesn’t know exactly how it will impact supply and their cost structure going forward.”

Jennie-O accounted for $1.67 billion in sales during Hormel’s most recent fiscal year, about 18 percent of the company’s total revenue. But it accounted for 28 percent of Hormel’s operating profit during that time. And through the first six months of the company’s current fiscal year, Jennie-O has been going gangbusters.

Along with Butterball, Jennie-O Turkey Store is the nation’s best known turkey brand. “It’s been a great success for Hormel,” said Brian Yarbrough, a stock analyst at Edward Jones.

The flu has disrupted the turkey industry’s supply chain, and no major poultry company is feeling that more than Hormel, the nation’s second largest turkey processor after Butterball.

As of Thursday, 45 of 600 commercial turkey farms in Minnesota had been hit by the bird flu, wiping out over 2.5 million birds, or about 5 percent of the state’s annual production. Two stricken Hormel-owned farms alone accounted for 611,000 lost turkeys; overall, the company has lost over 1.3 million birds in Minnesota.

The flu also has led to the destruction of 303,700 turkeys on three farms in western Wisconsin, two in Barron County and one in Chippewa County. All three are Hormel suppliers.

Basically, Jennie-O relies on Minnesota and Wisconsin for its birds. It has five processing plants in Minnesota and one in Wisconsin. Minnesota Pollution Control Agency data show it has about 70 corporate-owned turkey farms in Minnesota.

And, as of last October, the company had 100 “grow-out” contracts with independent farmers, many of which are in Minnesota, according to a federal securities filing. Under such contracts, Hormel supplies birds and feed, while farmers provide labor and facilities, receiving a fee based on the number of pounds of turkey delivered.

On Monday, Hormel CEO Jeffrey Ettinger said in a press statement that Jennie-O’s supply chain is “experiencing significant challenges.” The company declined to make an executive available for this story.

Tight meat supplies and “operational challenges” will pressure the company’s earnings in the second half of its current fiscal year, Ettinger said. The company didn’t lower its full-year earnings forecast, but noted that profits should fall to the low end of its guidance of $2.50 to $2.60 per share.

Ettinger said the bird flu’s financial impact would be partly offset by favorable hog market conditions, which affect its two other core divisions: refrigerated meats and grocery products.

Hormel sells turkey into two main markets. The smaller one is the export trade, which consists mostly of unbranded dark turkey meat, which Americans aren’t as fond of. That trade could be hurt as dozens of countries have restricted U.S. turkey imports due to bird flu outbreaks.

Domestically, the business includes deli meat and Jennie-O products. Aside from ground turkey, the Jennie-O brand can be seen on preformed turkey burgers, turkey sausage, turkey hot dogs and turkey bacon. Its most recent product launch is Jennie-O turkey breast sticks, single serving turkey snacks. Such product innovation is “what makes this brand a household name, along with the marketing,” Yarbrough said.

Is all the hullabaloo about bird flu affecting turkey consumers?

U.S. retail ground turkey sales have been trending down recently. By volume, sales dropped 13 percent, 14 percent and 6 percent respectively for the weeks ended April 11, April 4 and March 28, according to market researcher Nielsen.

However, a Nielsen spokeswoman said those declining sales can be traced primarily to two retailers, and that with Easter falling on April 5 this year, some of the drop-off could stem from consumers moving their spending into ham and other meats before the holiday. In other words, it’s too early to chalk up a bird flu effect.

Health experts say the bird flu poses a low risk for humans, and there hasn’t been a case associated with the current outbreak. The sick birds and others in proximity to them are destroyed, and all turkeys headed to slaughter are tested for flu.

“I think that since none of [the sick birds] entered the supply chain — and how Hormel has been adamant about that — that will help,” said Yarbrough, the stock analyst. Still, “there is a possibility it could impact demand. There’s always that risk.”

Lash agreed: “It always gets down to consumers’ perceptions of quality and safety.”



Mike Hughlett • 612-673-7003

http://www.startribune.com/business/301 ... y#continue

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2015 8:35 pm 
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Minn. National Guard to start bird flu mission
Associated Press and KARE 11 Staff, KARE 5 p.m. EDT April 26, 2015

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Minnesota National Guard will use 15 military trucks to deliver water as part of its initial response to a bird flu outbreak in Minnesota.


The state Department of Public Safety says the trucks will provide large amounts of water needed in foaming systems being used to euthanize diseased flocks to contain the virus.

Thirty National Guard soldiers will be used in the mission. According to a statement released Sunday, the trucks come from the Willmar-based 682nd Engineer Battalion and the Brooklyn Park-based A Company, 134th Brigade Support Battalion.

The Guard was activated as part of Gov. Mark Dayton's declaration of a state of emergency Thursday.

The soldiers start working Monday and continue through Wednesday.

http://www.kare11.com/story/news/local/ ... /26420999/

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