For Immediate Release: Friday, April 8, 2011
Contact: Bethany Hahn, Communications Specialist: 651-201-6830
Minnesota to Apply for Statewide TB-Free Status
Upgrade will mean fewer requirements for most Minnesota cattle producers; State remains committed to ensuring disease is eliminated from cattle and wildlife
St. Paul, Minn - The Minnesota Board of Animal Health today announced that the State of Minnesota will submit an application for statewide bovine Tuberculosis (TB)-Free status at the end of the month. The request comes less than six years after the discovery of an infected beef herd in July 2005. The Board anticipates approval of the application in late summer or early fall of this year.
In recent years, status downgrades have been the cause of increased testing and movement requirements for Minnesota cattle, both in-state and out. With U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approval, the status upgrade would bring relief to most Minnesota cattle producers.
"Obtaining statewide TB-Free status will be a tremendous victory for the state's cattle industry," said Board of Animal Health Executive Director and State Veterinarian Dr. Bill Hartmann. "With that victory comes the responsibility of the Board to ensure our state remains free of the disease. To provide extra assurance that TB is eliminated, surveillance will continue in cattle herds in the Management Zone."
The Department of Natural Resources will also continue management of deer populations and surveillance of hunter harvested wild deer in the bovine TB area until it is demonstrated that the disease has been eliminated in deer. Pending final culture results, 2010 will be the first calendar year since 2005 with no confirmed bovine TB positive wild deer detected.
Producers in the current Modified Accredited Advanced (MAA) Zone would no longer be required to obtain permits or test individual animals prior to moving cattle. An additional whole-herd test would be required of MAA Zone herds after the state obtains TB-Free status. Producers in the smaller Management Zone would continue slightly modified testing and movement requirements.
Though Board of Animal Health requirements will be reduced for some, livestock owners should call the state of destination prior to interstate movement of animals. Other states may require additional testing, permits, or official identification of livestock.
Over 733,000 cattle have been tested for TB since 2005. "This is a big deal for our state's cattle sector and for farm and ranch families around the state," said Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson. "Minnesota's eradication of bovine TB is an encouraging example of government and farmers working together to achieve a common goal, and now thanks to their diligence and cooperation our state will once again be free of this disease."
The Board, Minnesota Departments of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and USDA have worked alongside Minnesota livestock producers and veterinarians for nearly six years to find and eliminate remaining TB infection. Since 2008 Minnesota has held a Split State Status with northwest Minnesota one step below the rest of the state.
For additional information on Minnesota's bovine TB response, please call the hotline at 1-877- MN TB FREE (668-2373) or visit www.mntbfree.com.