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MDARD Designates New Bovine TB Testing Areas

MDARD Designates New Bovine TB Testing Areas

By Andi Anderson

Due to the detection of bovine tuberculosis (TB) in wild deer from Benzie, Crawford, and Otsego counties during the 2023 deer hunting season, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) has designated two new bovine TB testing areas. One area includes specific portions of Benzie and Manistee counties, and the other covers portions of Crawford and Otsego counties.

Testing all cattle and bison herds within these areas is crucial to protect animal health, public health, and market access for Michigan's cattle, meat, and milk products.

"Whenever there is a bovine TB-positive wild deer found outside of the counties where the disease is known to be endemic, it is part of MDARD's routine response to test all cattle and bison herds within a 10-mile radius of that deer’s location," said State Veterinarian Dr. Nora Wineland, DVM, MS, DACVPM. "Completing the testing will help Michigan maintain its split-state status and ensure these animals have not contracted the disease. The testing is just one part of MDARD's comprehensive Bovine TB Program, which steadily works toward the eradication of the disease."

Bovine TB is a bacterial disease that can affect all mammals, including humans. Michigan operates under two zones as part of the National Tuberculosis Eradication Program: the bovine TB-free zone, which includes 95 percent of the state, and the Modified

Accredited Zone (MAZ), a four-county area in the northeastern Lower Peninsula. To maintain this split-state status for bovine TB, MDARD must designate a testing area around any location where TB-positive wild deer are harvested outside of the MAZ.

Since the testing area for Benzie and Manistee counties was outside Michigan’s existing bovine TB testing area, Public Act 466 required MDARD to hold a public hearing in that region. The hearing explained the proposed testing order and accepted public comments, which were reviewed by the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development on May 15, 2024. The order to designate this testing area was approved.

The testing area for Crawford and Otsego counties did not require a public hearing process due to the existing zoning order for the counties surrounding the MAZ.

Affected producers in these testing areas will receive letters with more details on testing requirements and scheduling.

For more information on bovine TB and Michigan’s Bovine TB Program, please visit MDARD's website.

Photo Credit: gettyimages-pamwalker68

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