LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture released $824 million to assist in monitoring the nation’s poultry flocks and dairy herds, as well as rapid response to newly identified infected livestock as the “bird flu” outbreak continues.

This cash is added to the $1.3 billion already approved.

Federal agencies open funding to help stop avian flu outbreak

The agency also announced the formation of a voluntary monitoring program for the nation’s dairy herds.

Green Vale Farm south of Coopersville. (May 31, 2024)

Two Michigan farm workers have been diagnosed with active infections of the virus. A Texas farm worker was diagnosed as well.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) reports the current outbreak began in February 2022.

Since February 2022, the virus, the agency reports on its website, has been “detected in domestic birds from Bay, Branch, Cass, Eaton, Genessee, Gratiot, Ingham, Ionia, Kalamazoo, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Menominee, Montmorency, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oakland, Ottawa, Saginaw, Sanilac, Tuscola, Washtenaw, and Wexford counties.”

Counties where ‘bird flu’ has been detected in Michigan. Screenshot of Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development website. May 30, 2024. (WLNS)

Beginning in April of this year, the virus began being detected in “dairy cattle from Barry, Calhoun, Clinton, Gratiot, Ionia, Isabella, Montcalm and Ottawa counties.”

U.S. Rep. Elisa Slotkin, D-Holly, praised the response in a statement Friday:

“This is a big deal. Hundreds of millions of dollars will now be focused on assisting our producers in identifying cases of avian flu, mitigating its spread, and compensating impacted operations, which remains a top concern in my district. We know that food security is national security, so I applaud this step to free up additional resources that will meet the threat of this virus head on.”

U.S. Rep. Elisa Slotkin, D-Holly, said in a statement