8.5 million dollars in drought relief funding and another million-and-a-half to respond to the new outbreak of avian flu — the purpose of a bill the Minnesota Senate passed Thursday on a vote of 66-to-0. Sponsor, Elbow Lake Republican Torrey Westrom says one dairy farmer he talked to drives every week from the Melrose area down to Renville to pick up a semi load of wet beet pulp: “Something they’ve never fed their dairy cattle before, but that’s what’s getting them through…. But they have the expense of driving down there every week. Of course, fuel prices have not done anything to help them. It’s nearly doubled in the last year-and-a-half.”
Westrom says one holdup is a provision in the House bill to help the D-N-R restore tree seedling supplies damaged by drought. House sponsor, Esko Democrat Mike Sundin has signaled he’s willing to temporarily set that aside so the drought and avian flu package can move forward.