The U.S. Agriculture Department is expected in October to upgrade the majority of Minnesota as TB-Free, the Minnesota Board of Animal Health announced Thursday.
Minnesota has been operating under a split-state status for five years after bovine tuberculosis was discovered in cattle in northwest Minnesota.
With the approval of Minnesota's status upgrade application, a large part of the state will be classified as TB-Free and a smaller section of northwestern Minnesota will be upgraded from Modified Accredited to Modified Accredited Advanced, or one step below TB-Free.
Most of the problem area has been in northwest Beltrami County and southern Roseau County.
"This is the next step in moving our entire state toward becoming TB-Free," said Minnesota Board of Animal Health Executive Director and State Veterinarian Dr. Bill Hartmann. "Livestock producers, our staff, numerous state agencies, the USDA, and so many others have been working tirelessly to get this job done. We remain committed to eliminating this disease once and for all."
With the change in status levels, cattle from the new TB-Free area will be subject to less federal TB testing requirements when moving from state to state. Herds in the new MAA and Management Zones will continue to be subject to shipping and testing restrictions.
Maps and information are posted on the state's bovine TB website at www.mntbfree.com., a statement from the Board of Animal Health stated. Producers should continue to contact the receiving state's animal health agency to verify shipping requirements.
It has been more than 18 months since a TB-infected herd has been detected in northwestern Minnesota. In addition, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recently announced that 450 deer removed earlier this year as part of a disease eradication effort by sharpshooting tested negative for TB.
All 27 confirmed bovine TB-positive wild deer found since 2005 have been found within a 10-mile radius of the first confirmed positive cattle herd in the Skime area, the state said.
The state of North Dakota in June removed its TB testing requirements for most cattle crossing state lines.
"The state of Minnesota -- and I give everyone, the Department of Agriculture, DNR, the Board of Animal Health, all the way up to the governor's office -- they looked at this from the very beginning and said we have to have a solution to this," Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation President Kevin Paap said in a recent interview.
"They've done a great job," he said. "We're not there yet to exactly where we want to be, but going in the right direction. We appreciate the real working relationship of an awful lot of parties to help us reduce bovine TB where we can trade with other states, and that is going in the right direction.
"But our work is not done, we want to get to TB-Free status as soon as possible," Paap added.