- Associated Press - Monday, November 28, 2016

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The head of Iowa’s agriculture department is once again asking state leaders for financial help to better prepare for potential animal diseases like bird flu.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey says his request Monday for $500,000 would be used to train livestock farmers to increase biosecurity efforts when responding to outbreaks involving foreign diseases like bird flu, which hit the state in 2015. The disease killed 48 million birds nationwide, including 24 million Iowa laying hens.

The request, made during an annual budget hearing with Gov. Terry Branstad, mirrors Northey’s request one year ago to combat the same issue. Branstad didn’t include it his budget recommendations last January, citing limitations to the state budget.

A Branstad spokesman says the governor will evaluate the latest request.

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