Minnesota agriculture officials are reminding cattle producers of a new rendering regulation that goes into affect this spring that could affect their ability to dispose of dead cattle. The new Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation bans the use of these carcasses in livestock feed if the cattle are over 30 months of age. This FDA regulation is intended to prevent the spread of BSE or mad cow disease and will likely result in increased disposal costs for livestock producers.

Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) Livestock Development Supervisor Curt Zimmerman says the feed ban regulation has presented challenges to the cattle industry.

"We asked producers, rendering companies, livestock organizations and state livestock experts to consider the impact of this ban and what disposal options would be available to beef and dairy farmers," said Zimmerman. "On-farm pick-up will remain an option for producers, and we're examining other disposal methods, such as composting and burial that may work for some producers."

While most rendering services in Minnesota have indicated they will continue farm pick-up of dead cattle, producers will be responsible for providing documentation proving the age of the cattle. If verification cannot be provided, the cattle will be considered to be over 30 months of age and producers will be charged accordingly by the rendering service. Producers are encouraged to discuss with their local feedlot experts and extension educators what options are best suited to their operation.