State Prepares for TB Downgrade After 11th Positive Herd Found

USDA status change will mean new test requirements for some Minnesota cattle and bison.

Published on: Feb 19, 2008

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health announced that a Beltrami County beef cattle herd has tested positive for bovine Tuberculosis.

This is the fourth positive herd detected since October 2007. State animal health officials say USDA will likely downgrade Minnesota's bovine TB status from Modified Accredited Advanced to Modified Accredited. In a press conference call today, MBAH state veterinarian Bill Hartmann said the exact date of the downgrade by USDA is unknown.

The 11th herd was in the core area of the bovine TB management zone in northwestern Beltrami County. Since bovine TB was discovered in a northwest Minnesota beef cattle herd in July 2005, the disease investigation has found 11 infected beef cattle herds, all in Roseau and Beltrami counties.

USDA regulations prescribe a downgrade in status when more than three herds are discovered within a 12-month period.

By dropping from MAA to MA, Minnesota moves to the third of five status levels and two steps down from the highest status level, TB-Free. When the downgrade becomes official, state producers will have to adhere to stricter federal and state testing requirements when shipping cattle or bison. The USDA will require all breeding animals to be tested for bovine TB within 60 days prior to shipment and a whole herd test within the previous 12 months. All feeder animals must have a TB test prior to movement. Cattle and bison are exempt from the testing requirement if they are moving interstate to a federally inspected slaughter facility.

MA status may also require surveillance testing of dairy herds that sell milk. Minnesota Department of Ag assistance commissioner Joe Martin said the state is working with USDA and FDA to receive approval for a dairy herd surveillance program. Otherwise, under the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance, milking herds in a MA area must have annula negative TB herd tests or have accredited herd status.

Hartmann urged Minnesota livestock producers who ship animals interstate to contact their veterinarian to determine state import requirements prior to movement.

MBAH is working at obtaining split-state status in order to allow the majority of the state to upgrade its status, while the counties surrounding the core area affected by TB would remain MA.

"We consider it of utmost importance to do everything we can to limit the impact of bovine TB on the state's cattle industry as a whole," said Hartmann. "While the downgrade in our status is a setback, we are committed to eliminating this disease from the state."

In the upcoming days, the Board will send approximately 42,000 letters to cattle producers, veterinarians, and auction markets across the state explaining the situation and changes to interstate movement requirements. In addition, animal health officials will convene several meetings to give producers an opportunity to hear from the Board and other state and federal agencies that are managing the eradication campaign. Following presentations from the Board of Animal Health and other state and federal agencies, there will be ample time for questions from the public. The meeting schedule is as follows:

• Lewiston – February 25, 10:00 a.m. – Lewiston Sales, 21241 Dutchman's Crossing Road
• Pipestone – February 25, 7:00 p.m. – Pipestone Livestock Auction, E. Highway 30
• Melrose – February 26, 10:00 a.m. – City Center, 225 E. 1st Street N.
• Grygla – February 26, 7:00 p.m. – Grygla School, 114 N. Fladeland Ave.
• Thief River Falls – February 27, 9:00 a.m. – Northland Community and Technical College, 1101 Highway One E.

For more information on TB, upcoming producer meetings, and the agency, visit the Board's website at www.bah.state.mn.us.