The Minnesota Board of Animal Health has received 45 herd buyout contracts signed by cattle producers in the bovine tuberculosis (TB) Management Zone. The Board estimates that 6,800 head of beef cattle will be removed from the TB disease management area as a result of the buyout program. In total, 67 producers were eligible for the buyout.
Herd owners in the Management Zone who have chosen to participate in the buyout will be paid $500 per animal, plus $75 per animal per year until Minnesota regains TB-Free status. All animals that are part of the buyout must be removed from the zone or be slaughtered by January 31, 2009. Cattle moving out of the zone must meet specific testing requirements. Producers taking part in the buyout program will not be allowed to keep livestock in the proposed Modified Accredited Zone.
"The removal of cattle from this area is a significant step toward eradicating bovine TB from northwest Minnesota,” says Joe Martin, assistant commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and state bovine TB coordinator. "However, it is a bittersweet step, knowing that many of these producers may not re-enter the cattle business.”
The Board of Animal Health administers the buyout program which was authorized by legislation signed by Governor Pawlenty this year. The legislation also gives the Board expanded authorities and funding to eradicate bovine TB in northwestern Minnesota.
Additional information is available by visiting the Bovine TB Web site at www.mntbfree.com or by calling the Bovine TB Hotline at 1-877-MN TB FREE (668-2373).