North Dakota's import restrictions on Minnesota cattle are likely to remain for at least another seven weeks while North Dakota officials gather details about the neighboring state's "split state status" for bovine tuberculosis.
North Dakota officials are worried that monitoring and control of northwestern Minnesota cattle and wild deer might not be adequate under the "split state" designation recently granted by the federal Agriculture Department.
If there are lapses in control, the "TB free" status that North Dakota has maintained for more than 30 years might be in jeopardy, says Susan Keller, North Dakota's state veterinarian.
"There's a 125-page risk analysis we're going through now," she says Tuesday.
The split-state status for bovine TB in Minnesota, granted Oct. 9, lessens testing requirements for all cattle producers except those in parts of four northwestern counties where the disease has been found in cattle and deer.
"I can understand their argument in that they need to focus resources and money on a smaller area," Keller says. "Our concern has been and continues to be, 'Is the area too small?'"
Bill Hartmann, Minnesota's state veterinarian, says a survey that drew responses from 27 of the 50 states showed 20 of them acknowledge the split state status.
North Dakota's Board of Animal Health historically has not recognized split state designations. The board left in place the import restrictions it approved last February and likely will not consider a change until its next scheduled meeting on Dec. 10.