PI has no TB-positive cattle

No diseased cattle were found within 10 miles of any of the TB-positive deer shot in Presque Isle County in 2011, clearing the potential high-risk areas inside the county.

Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development officials recently finished testing inside the three 10-mile circles covering all or part of Allis, Bearinger, Bismarck, Case, Metz, Moltke, North Allis, Ocqueoc, Posen, Pulaski, and Rogers townships, Bovine TB Eradication Program Coordinator Rick Smith said. These three circles were declared to be potential high-risk areas in Febuary 2012 after three TB-positive deer were shot, two in Bismarck Township and one in Ocqueoc Township. Overall, 70 herds were checked and nothing was found.

“We’re pleased that we got through it,” he said. “We had quite a bit of support from the farming community, had people calling in, getting signed up.”

By state law, the MDA has to go in and test every herd within 10-mile circles around where TB-positive deer are found, Smith said. This includes freezer beef herds, those with six cattle or less, which typically don’t need to be tested. Herds that had been checked within six months, or after Aug. 10, 2011, didn’t need to be checked again.

Those that needed it were placed under temporary quarantine during the process, which consisted of the standard caudal-fold test, Smith said. Occasionally, the quarantine would last longer if MDA officials did any secondary testing.

The declaration of these three potential high-risk areas came five months after Presque Isle County was moved into the modified accredited advanced zone, Smith said. Herd owners in this zone have to test based on risk. Breeders have to test annually, those raising feeder calves have to test every other year and feed lot owners who sell cattle directly to slaughter have to test every three years. Herd owners in the modified accredited zone have to test annually.

“It was probably a disappointment to some folks because they were thinking, ‘OK, I’m not going to test again for two years,'” he said. “But then because of these circles, they had to test in a year they (normally) wouldn’t have to.”

As of Wednesday, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources hasn’t reported any more TB-positive deer killed in Presque Isle County, Smith said. Any new reports would require the MDA to impose the same process, even in TB-free zones elsewhere in the state.

“Given this is the first time (Presque Isle County farmers) experienced this, we thought the whole thing worked out pretty well,” he said.

Jordan Travis can be reached via email at jtravis@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5688.