On Wednesday, Minnesota’s bovine tuberculosis (TB) status officially dropped from Modified Accredited Advanced to Modified Accredited. The downgrade is effective immediately for producers shipping cattle and bison out of the state. All producers must abide by the following federal interstate movement requirements:

  • Feeder cattle and bison must have an individual negative TB test within 60 days of shipment. Sexually intact animals can only move to an approved feedlot.
  • Breeding cattle or bison must have an individual negative TB test within 60 days of movement and a negative whole herd TB test within 12 months of shipment.
  • Slaughter cattle or bison have no testing requirements if animals move directly to slaughter at an approved slaughter facility (federal- or state-inspected plant).
Import states may have additional restrictions and requirements. In fact, North Dakota and Wisconsin have already established guidelines. The Minnesota Board of Animal Health (MBAH) encourages producers to contact their veterinarian before transporting livestock out of state.

MBAH is working to establish a split-state status to quickly regain TB-free status for the rest of the state. To date, all infected herds have been in the northwest portion of the state. The tentative “split” region affects 300 cattle herds in portions of Roseau, Marshall, northern Beltrami and Lake of the Woods counties.

Last week, USDA allocated $16.8 million in TB funding for Michigan, California and Minnesota. Of that dollar amount, Minnesota is expected to get $2.7 million, which will go toward cooperative agreements, working with wildlife services, ID of livestock in the split-state area, and depopulation and indemnities. Additional state funding will assist in a voluntary buyout and cost-sharing of fencing.

The Department of Natural Resources reports 18 deer have been confirmed with TB, with another four suspected. As of Tuesday, a total of 739 deer had been harvested in the surveillance area.

The economic impact on the state is too early to tell, says Joe Martin, state TB coordinator. Individual TB testing costs $5-$10/animal, he says, and an average of 200,000-250,000 cattle move out of state annually. A veterinarian must conduct the two-step TB test.

Currently there are 450 veterinarians certified to test for TB in Minnesota, an insufficient number if the entire state is subject to the testing requirements, Martin says. He says a split-state status would allow resources to be concentrated in the area of greatest need.

MBAH reminds consumers that there’s very low risk of humans contracting TB. The pasteurization process kills bacteria in milk and Minnesota doesn't permit raw milk sales. TB bacteria is rarely present in muscle cuts. In addition, carcasses are federally inspected for lesions, a result of possible TB infection. Furthermore, cooking meat to 160º F also kills the bacteria.

For the latest on the Minnesota TB situation, call 1-877-MN TB FREE (668-2373) or visit www.mntbfree.com.