Tim Walz today signed Executive Order 22-05, waiving trucking regulations to help fight the spread of avian influenza and mitigate the risk to Minnesota’s poultry industry. 

The Executive Order is part of the continued efforts to control and contain H5N1 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in Minnesota.

The current HPAI outbreak in Minnesota poses a high risk to poultry but a low risk to the public, and there is no food safety concern for consumers. 

“As someone who grew up on a family farm, I know the work our farmers and producers do is tough under the very best conditions. We will continue to work with Minnesota’s poultry industry and our federal partners to quickly and decisively respond to the HPAI cases in Minnesota and ensure our poultry industry remains strong,” said Governor Walz. 

Minnesota is ranked first in the nation in turkey production, with more than 660 turkey farms that raise about 40 million birds annually. 

Turkey production generates $774 million in cash receipts annually, and in 2020, Minnesota exported about 15% of its production, worth approximately $114 million. 

Poultry growers and industry associations have requested immediate help to support the safe and efficient movement of commodities used in H5N1 emergency response efforts. 

Waiving the strict enforcement of certain weight restriction regulations and hours of service requirements will assist with depopulation efforts, transportation of uninfected animals to processing facilities, and maintenance of adequate supplies to support healthy flocks. 

These waivers will also help prevent the spread of the virus between flocks by reducing the number of trips that trucks need to make to farm sites. 

This week, Governor Walz also announced the activation of a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) emergency response team in Minnesota to support the state’s disease control and containment efforts of H5N1. 

The USDA emergency team will support the state’s Agricultural Incident Management Team—a team of experts from the Minnesota Board of Animal Health and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, based in Kandiyohi County. 

The team will work alongside animal health officials and producers to respond to the incident, including quarantining the infected flocks, supporting infected-site response activities, engaging in disease surveillance, and coordinating state and federal logistics and finances. 

The USDA team arrived yesterday and will be deployed for at least three weeks.