The virus has affected nearly 100 farms in more than a dozen states, requiring the depopulation of about 11 million birds. It is spread by migratory birds. In Minnesota, nearly all of the 54 impacted farms are located within a few hundred yards of a lake, the letter noted.
The four sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, suggesting he be empowered to dip into the Commodity Credit Corp. funds.
The letter was sent by two Republicans - Agriculture Committee chairmen Senator Pat Roberts from Kansas and House of Representatives member K. Michael Conaway from Texas – and two Democrats – Senator Debbie Stabenow from Michigan and House of Representatives member Collin Peterson from Minnesota where the governor has declared a state of emergency and has called out the national guard.