ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Gov. Mark Dayton says the state may set up a low-interest loan program for farmers hit by a deadly bird flu outbreak.

Fifty-six farms had been hit with the virus as of Tuesday, costing farmers more than 3.3 million birds. The federal government plans to reimburse owners for euthanized turkeys and state lawmakers are finalizing a deal to fund the state's response efforts.

But Dayton said Wednesday the state may supplement that support with up to $100,000 in low-interest loans to each affected farmer. The governor says that money won't cover all of farmers' costs but will help them get their businesses back up and running.

Dayton hosted a turkey lunch for staff interns Wednesday to show Minnesotans that the birds are still safe to eat.


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