Agriculture Chairwoman Stabenow: Seven More Michigan Counties Declared Free of Bovine Tuberculosis

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has declared that seven Northern Michigan counties are free of bovine tuberculosis, which is a serious threat to Michigan's agriculture industry and rural economy. Since Sen. Stabenow's initial call on Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in 2011 to address the spread of the disease, Michigan livestock producers have received increased resources to battle the epidemic. USDA's announcement that seven more counties are "tuberculosis free" is welcome news for livestock producers and Michigan's economy.

"Today's announcement proves that hard work pays off," Stabenow said. "Producers in Northern Michigan have continued to make changes to prevent this harmful disease from spreading on their farms. I will continue to work with federal and state officials to make sure Michigan producers have the funding they need to get rid of bovine TB for good."

USDA announced that Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Crawford, Emmet, Otsego, and Presque Isle counties have been tuberculosis free since 2011 and will no longer need to test for bovine tuberculosis in cattle and bison, which will eliminate the need for costly record keeping and animal testing practices. Chairwoman Stabenow, who has been at the forefront of the battle against bovine TB in Michigan, urged the USDA in 2011 to allocate additional resources to address the spread of the disease.

Cattle are Michigan's fifth most valuable commodity, reaching over $541 million cash receipts in 2013, up 13 percent from 2012. Michigan's TB Free status was revoked in 2000 following a comprehensive surveillance of livestock, but was granted split-state status in 2004 to allow eradication efforts to focus on the area affected and the surrounding buffer zone.