TB Legislation Signed into Minnesota Law

US – The Governor of Minnesota, Tim Pawlenty, recently signed legislation aimed at providing new resources for eradicating Bovine Tuberculosis from beef cattle and deer in northwestern Minnesota.
calendar icon 6 May 2008
clock icon 4 minute read

The bill provides the Minnesota Board of Animal Health (BAH) with expanded regulatory authorities and funding to implement a bovine TB eradication plan.

As part of the plan, BAH will increase livestock testing, tighten restrictions on animal movement, provide cost-share assistance for fencing in certain areas, and offer a “buy out” option to livestock owners in the disease management zone. In addition, the legislation directs that a per-head assessment be collected on all cattle sales in the state between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2009. The funds are to be collected by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), for the purpose of helping fund bovine TB control activities.

"This disease is an economic burden for our beef producers, and we are committed to eradicating it as quickly as possible"
MDA Assistant Commissioner Joe Martin

“This disease is an economic burden for our beef producers, and we are committed to eradicating it as quickly as possible,” said MDA Assistant Commissioner Joe Martin, the state’s bovine TB response coordinator. “We had strong, bipartisan support for this legislation from legislators, producers, and industry groups such as the Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association.”

Since the initial 2005 discovery of bovine TB in Minnesota, the state has identified 11 infected beef cattle herds - all in the northwest Minnesota counties of Beltrami and Roseau. In addition, 20 infected deer have been confirmed to date in the same area, with several additional suspect deer awaiting final test results. As a result of these discoveries, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) downgraded Minnesota’s federal status to Modified Accredited. This status downgrade means Minnesota producers face new federal testing requirements for cattle being shipped from Minnesota to other states. Individual states also may impose more stringent testing restrictions.

Under the terms of the buyout program, eligible cattle owners in the disease management zone must sign a contract with the BAH by July 15, 2008, and will be paid $500 per animal. In return, cattle must be moved out of the zone or be slaughtered by January 31, 2009. If cattle are moved out of the zone other than to slaughter they must have BAH approval and will be subject to several regulatory requirements. No livestock will be allowed in the zone unless authorized by the BAH. Participating cattle owners will receive annual payments of $75 per animal, beginning June 30, 2009 and each year until the state regains its TB-Free status.

BAH will conduct a risk assessment for cattle owners who do not participate in the buyout. This assessment will determine whether the operation’s feed and forage crops are properly protected, and whether deer or elk are interfacing with cattle. The BAH can require cattle owners to fence livestock, or feed or forage crops, and will provide cost-share assistance of 90 percent of the cost, up to $75,000.

The bill provides the BAH with expanded regulatory authority to control bovine TB and the movement of livestock into, within, and out of bovine TB zones. This authority will help demonstrate to federal authorities that the state can successfully control bovine TB spread. This is expected in turn to help convince the U.S.

Department of Agriculture to grant Minnesota split-state status. If USDA grants split-state status, a large part of the state will upgrade its classification, and a smaller section of northwestern Minnesota will remain at the Modified Accredited classification. Herds in the MA region will still be subject to the more stringent shipping and testing restrictions, but other parts of the state will be spared from these extra restrictions.

“Split-state status will allow us to concentrate our resources in northwestern Minnesota, where they are needed most,” BAH Executive Director Bill Hartmann said. “At the same time, it will reduce the testing burden on producers in other parts of the state that have not seen bovine TB.”

The legislation also requires the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to implement a wildlife feeding ban within the proposed TB split status zone. Anyone violating the feeding restrictions can have their hunting license revoked for two years following conviction.

Further Reading

- Find out more information on Bovine Tuberculosis by clicking here.

TheCattleSite News Desk

© 2000 - 2024 - Global Ag Media. All Rights Reserved | No part of this site may be reproduced without permission.