CWD found at Houston County farm; herd of 49 to be killed for investigation

The farm, which has 38 adults and 11 fawns, imported the CWD positive animal in 2019 from a Winona County herd.

Minnesota will receive nearly $550,000 through a federal program meant to combat the spread of a deer-killing disease, federal officials announced Thursday, Oct. 15. Forum News Service file photo

Chronic wasting disease has been confirmed at a white-tailed deer farm in Houston County, according to the Minnesota Board of Animal Health.

According to a release from the Board of Animal Health, the CWD positive case was a dead 2½-year-old white-tailed doe. All farmed cervids that die or are killed are required to be tested for CWD.

The herd, which consisted of 38 adults and 11 fawns, was quarantined and the farm owner is cooperating with the Board of Animal Health’s CWD investigation.

“We’re compiling the last five years of the herd history and movements as required by federal program standards, and we’re working with the USDA to appraise and request federal indemnity for this herd,” said Linda Glaser, assistant director of the board.

Erin Crider, communications specialist for the board, said the name of the farm where the positive case for CWD came from is "non-public information" and not something it releases to anyone outside of the investigation. She said that due to the state's CWD response plan, the entire herd at the farm will be killed.


"The herd is required to be depopulated if CWD is found there," Crider said.

The farm is located within the board’s designated CWD endemic area, which is an area boundary 15 miles around all confirmed cases of CWD in the wild. Farmed deer in these herds are restricted from moving to other areas of the state until the producer can demonstrate the herd is maintained in such a way to prevent commingling of farmed and wild deer.

The herd enclosure was double-fenced in 2017, before the board established the endemic area in Houston County in late 2018. In the last five years, this herd has imported animals only from two Minnesota herds. The farm imported the CWD-positive animal in 2019 from a Winona County herd that has also been quarantined. The herd has exported animals to only one location in Wisconsin.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is currently testing hunter harvested wild deer in Houston County as part of the planned CWD surveillance for the fall deer hunting seasons.

“We typically heighten our efforts to collect samples from wild deer in areas that surround CWD-infected cervid farms,” said Michelle Carstensen, supervisor of the wildlife health program. “Even though sampling is voluntary this year, the more hunters submit samples, the better we can understand how CWD is spreading in the area."

Last fall, three deer tested positive for CWD out of approximately 2,260 deer that were tested within 10 miles of this newly detected CWD-positive farm. Hunters should check the DNR’s CWD webpage for sampling station availability. Sampling result totals from the DNR are available on the CWD sampling page .

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