USDA makes cattle movement easier for majority of Michigan

May 21, 2010
by WLJ

The Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) Director Don Koivisto recently signed an updated version of the zoning rules for bovine tuberculosis (TB) to bring the Michigan rules in line with federal rules.

The federal TB program recently relaxed the rules for movement in a TB Modified Accredited Advanced Zone (MAAZ) to provide free-movement of unaffected cattle herds. Until this order was signed, a bovine TB test was required on all MAAZ cattle before crossing a federal zonal boundary, even if they were not near TB-infected wildlife. Today, producers in Subzones 2 and 3 of the MAAZ may freely move cattle across a federal zonal boundary as long as they have a movement permit and electronic ID (eID).

All Michigan cattle must have eID before they may move from a farm.

“One of the goals of the bovine TB eradication effort is to decrease the interaction between wildlife and domestic cattle,” said James Averill, MDA’s Bovine TB Eradication Program coordinator.

“This federal order reinforces Michigan’s requirements for movement and will go a long way in helping prevent any potential spread of the disease through cattle sales and purchases.”

Michigan and Minnesota have subzones that are exceptions to this new order because both states have bovine TB in wildlife. In Subzone 1 of the MAAZ (Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Crawford, Emmet, and Otsego counties) cattle coming from a USDA Accredited TB-Free Herd may move across a federal zonal boundary without a movement test. Cattle moving from non-accredited farms in Subzone 1 may cross a federal zonal boundary without a movement test if they have a winter-verified Wildlife Risk Mitigation Plan and have passed a whole herd test for TB since that winter verification. Those who do not meet either of the above requirements must test their cattle within 60 days before movement across a federal zonal boundary.

Subzone 1 cattle must also be accompanied by a movement certificate when they leave a farm premises. All cattle in Subzone 1 must participate in the bovine TB surveillance program. Herds selling breeding animals are required to do an annual whole-herd test of all animals 18 months of age and older, while those selling feeder calves and dairies must do a wholeherd test every two years, and feedlots must do a whole-herd test every three years. To date, Michigan’s 2010 surveillance activities—testing free-ranging deer and whole-herd testing of cattle—have detected bovine TB in a Cheboygan County wild, free-ranging white-tailed deer and in an Emmet County cattle herd. For this reason, Subzone 1 has more stringent requirements for movement than Subzones 2 and 3 of the MAAZ.

Since the Wildlife Risk Mitigation program began, 291 farms in the first round of the three-year program have been winter-verified. For 2010, 133 farms have been verified to date. Another 136 cattle farms are actively setting up their plans and putting tools in place to prevent transmission between wildlife and cattle. — WLJ