USDA seen approving split-state TB status for Minnesota
USDA is expected, in the next few weeks, to declare Minnesota a split state for bovine tuberculosis control, according to U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson. “As far as I know,” said Peterson, who’s also chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, “everything is on track to do that.”
If that occurs, the state will be split into two zones, with a concentrated bovine TB management area in northwest Minnesota, with the rest of the state as TB free, with no restrictions. A 164-square mile TB management area in northwestern Minnesota, where 11 cases of TB have been found, was created by the state legislature, to pave the way for the split state designation.
Peterson and state officials have pushed for the designation, to keep all of the northern part of the state from falling into the “stricter zone,” Peterson said. Being in that zone means thousands of cattle would have been subject to tougher regulations for testing and movement of cattle across state lines.
As of the end of July, 45 herd buyout contracts had been signed by producers in the northwest management area. They will receive $500 per head, plus $75 per animal, per year, until Minnesota regains TB-free status. The state estimates some 67 producers in the zone are eligible for the buyout, which is voluntary, and that 6,800 cattle will be removed.
Minnesota is currently designated “Modified Accredited” by USDA for bovine TB. That’s the third of five possible categories, and triggers strict regulations for the testing and movement of cattle across state lines.