Will's Windmill Column: State expands Bovine TB Control Zone
The Board of Animal Health has announced that effective April 15, the regulatory zone in northwest Minnesota currently known as the TB Core Area will be expanded to include the TB Management Zone.
Cattle herds located in the newly expanded Management Zone will be required to obtain movement certificates and individually TB-test most animals before moving them off the premises. Producers must have an official risk assessment to assess the interaction between deer and cattle. In addition, herds located in this area must have an annual whole-herd TB test.
The Core Area and the TB Management Zone, established by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) after detecting TB-infected white-tailed deer, will now be referred to collectively as the Management Zone. Maps and the detailed regulations are available online at www.mntbfree.com.
The regulatory expansion will provide a buffer around the area of concern in Northwest Minnesota, and as the state prepares to apply to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for a Split State Status, will serve as the first step in that process.
An effort to reduce the impact the downgrade of Minnesota's bovine TB status to Modified Accredited, Split State Status would allow an upgraded TB status for the majority of the state, while the area where the disease has been found would remain Modified Accredited.
"Before our application for Split State Status can be approved by USDA, the State of Minnesota must demonstrate that we have adequate measures in place to control livestock movements," said Minnesota Department of Agriculture Assistant Commissioner and State Bovine TB Coordinator Joe Martin.
"The first step in this process is to expand control measures to include all herds in the Management Area. We eradicated this disease once and with the help of the livestock industry, wildlife control officials, and our state and federal partners, we intend to return Minnesota to TB Free Status."
Minnesota's bovine TB status was officially downgraded to Modified Accredited, as called for by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Code of Federal Regulations, on Wednesday, April 9. This drop in status follows the discovery of four additional infected herds within the last 12 months and requires Minnesota cattle producers to conduct additional testing when shipping animals out of state. For more information on TB, log on to the State's bovine TB website at www.mntbfree.com.
Beef cow ration balancer
The U of M Extension Beef Team has released the beef cow ration balancer to help beef producers more closely examine the feed cost of their operation. With grain prices at all time highs and hay prices not far behind, livestock producers need to find ways to become more efficient to become profitable.
This program is designed to be used as a management tool for producers to more closely monitor the nutritional needs and feed costs of their operation.
To access the Beef Cow Ration Balancer, visit the Beef Team Web site at www.extension.umn.edu/beef/components/xls/UMNBeefCowBalancer.xls.
Forest management for wildlife workshop
A wildlife workshop emphasizing forest management will be held on May 3 from 9 a.m.-12 noon in Park Rapids at the Environmental Education Building on the Hubbard County Fairgrounds.
Many landowners want to know how to enhance their property with improved forest and wildlife habitat. This workshop will focus on assisting private forest landowners in reaching their wildlife and forest management goals.
Topics to be covered at the workshop include: Basic Goals and Objectives of Wildlife Habitat and Forest Management; Establishing Food Plots that meet Your Management Goals; Soil Testing and Soil Preparation for Trails and Food Plots, Introduction to Carbon Credits; Cost Share Opportunities in Forest Management; and Developing Forest Management Plans.
Workshop presenters will be from the following agencies: DNR Forestry; DNR Wildlife; NRCS; U of MN Extension Service; and SWCD.
Space is limited, so early pre-registration is encouraged by calling 1-218-732-0121 or by contacting Shane Foley at Hubbard County Soil and Water District by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brochures outlining the contents of the May 3 workshop are available by contacting Mr. Foley at the above listed number and e-mail.