Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, D-Minn., announced Friday, Jan. 24, they have secured $180,000 in grant funding from the United States Department of Agriculture for disease preparedness and response activities in Minnesota.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture will receive $133,000 and the University of Minnesota will receive $47,000.

“This critical funding will ensure that the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and University of Minnesota will be able to continue their work researching and protecting U.S. animal health,” Klobuchar stated in a news release. “Animal disease preparedness is an important part of ensuring that Minnesota’s farmers and ranchers can respond quickly to a potential disease outbreak. This funding will support our farmers and gives them the tools they need to succeed.”

“When Minnesota was hit by an avian flu outbreak a few years back, it took a real toll on the ag economy,” Smith stated in the release. “Since then, I’ve heard Minnesota livestock producers and veterinarians talk about the importance of preparing for and preventing future animal disease outbreaks. This funding will help us reach that goal. But our work shouldn’t stop there. We need to adopt a ‘One Health’ approach — the idea that human and animal health are linked, and that they should be studied together to prevent and respond to disease outbreaks.”