State seeks contractors to install fence in TB management zone
The Minnesota Board of Animal Health is compiling a list of authorized contractors and material suppliers who will install fence in the Management Zone in northwest Minnesota this summer.
In addition, general deer exclusion fencing specifications have been established and posted on the state's bovine tuberculosis (TB) website, www.mntbfree.com.
Fencing plans that deviate from these guidelines may be approved by the Board on a case-by-case basis.
Governor Tim Pawlenty signed legislation strengthening the state's efforts to eradicate TB from Minnesota.
The bill provides the Board with expanded regulatory authority and funding to implement a bovine TB eradication plan in northwestern Minnesota.
State Senator Rod Skoe, DFL-Clearbrook, was thanked by Pawlenty for his leadership on the bovine tuberculosis eradication plan, which was signed into law May 5.
The legislation is aimed at managing infected deer and livestock, eradicating the disease in the future, and helping ranchers to recover and move forward.
"This bill puts Minnesota in the position of being a national leader in controlling and combating bovine TB," Sen. Skoe said.
"Up to this point, there really has been no road map for dealing with this issue and other states have had only marginal success.
This bill helps Minnesota lead the way toward eradicating the disease in our state and helping other states develop aggressive and successful plans."
As part of this plan, the Board will conduct on-farm risk assessments for cattle owners in the Management Zone.
This assessment will determine whether the operation's feed and forage crops are properly protected and whether deer or elk are interacting with cattle.
"Our legislation will give the Board of Animal Health the tools and funding they need to implement the eradication plan," said Sen. Langseth (DFL-Glyndon).
"We are also going to offer a buyout program for cattle owners affected by the disease within the management zone.
"The compensation is not enough to totally replace the lost cattle, but hopefully it will keep our farmers on their feet while we move through this tough time," Langseth added
Under this legislation, the BAH can require cattle owners to fence livestock or crops and will pay 90 percent of the cost, up to $75,000.
A map of the TB Management Zone is available online at www.mntbfree.com.
Contractors and material suppliers interested in being considered for the State's list of approved vendors are asked to call the state's bovine TB hotline at 1-877-MN TB FREE (668-2373).