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Published December 16, 2009, 12:00 AM

North Dakota taking new look at cattle imports

BISMARCK – North Dakota is revisiting restrictions it placed on cattle imports from Minnesota nearly two years ago after bovine tuberculosis was detected in deer and cattle herds there, a state official said.

By: Blake Nicholson, Associated Press Writer, INFORUM

BISMARCK – North Dakota is revisiting restrictions it placed on cattle imports from Minnesota nearly two years ago after bovine tuberculosis was detected in deer and cattle herds there, a state official said.

North Dakota’s Board of Animal Health asked state Veterinarian Dr. Susan Keller to meet with wildlife officials from both states to discuss the restrictions and gather information.

Keller said Friday that for North Dakota to ease its restrictions, she would have to find convincing evidence that deer, which can spread the disease to cattle, are not a threat in northwestern Minnesota.

“We are definitely going to talk to people, but I’m not expecting things to change much,” Keller said.

Joe Martin, assistant commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and the state’s bovine TB coordinator, said he is pleased that North Dakota officials are revisiting the long-standing restrictions.

North Dakota restricted cattle shipments from Minnesota nearly two years ago after bovine TB was found in northwestern Minnesota cattle and deer. North Dakota has been deemed “TB-free” for more than three decades, and officials fear the loss of that status if the disease that emaciates cattle makes its way across the border.

The federal Agriculture Department in October 2008 granted Minnesota “split state” status – lessening testing requirements for all cattle producers except those in parts of four northwestern counties where the disease has been found.

South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas all have recognized the split-state status, but Wisconsin and North Dakota have not.


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