USDA has approved Minnesota's TB split-state status effective tomorrow, Oct. 10. With the approval, the vast majority of the state will upgrade its classification to Modified Accredited Advanced (MAA) and portion of just four counties in the extreme northwest corner of the state will remain at Modified Accredited (MA). The map is available at www.bah.state.mn.us/tb/maps/split_state.pdf
Herds in the MA zone will still be subjected to more stringent testing and shipping restrictions. As a condition of approval, Minnesota must complete another round of targeted testing within the MAA zone within the next 12 months. And cattle and bison within the MAA zone will still have some TB testing requirements if moving animals to another state. For example, dairy cattle from the MAA zone will still have to have a negative TB test done on each animal within 60 days shipment. Those tests will run between $18 to $20 along with possible other veterinary charges.
"As Minnesota producers prepare for fall feeder cattle movements, this approval will mean fewer restrictions and expenses,” says Joe Martin, Minnesota TB coordinator for the state department of agriculture. Feeder cattle will not have to be tested from the MAA zone.
Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota will accept cattle under the new status. North Dakota is considering acceptance, but state laws in Wisconsin prohibit acceptance.
The announcement of MAA status means the day is closer to when most of Minnesota becomes accredited free. Under the Memorandum of Unstanding with USDA, Minnesota will test up to 1,500 more herds in 2009. Even if all herds test negative, however, to could take two to three years for the MAA zone to be up-graded to accredited-free status.
To date, Minnesota has tested 475,000 cattle since TB was discovered in the state in July 2005.
All herds in the MA zone will now be evaluated or wildlife access, and all herds will have to install deer-proof fencing. To date, 80 of the 300 herds in the MA zone have been tested. Forty-five beef herds in the MA zone have accepted buyout bids, and 1,300 of the 6,000 cattle on these farms have been removed. The buyouts will be completed by January 31, 2009.
To date, the state of Minnesota has spent well in excess of $5 million dollars for TB testing and control, says Martin. And that doesn't count on-farm costs and inconvenience. Farm testing costs are reimburseable through a state tax credit.
For more information on TB in Minnesota, go to: www.mntbfree.com