Changes to bovine tuberculosis zone to be topic of Mio meeting


MIO –– The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development will hold five informational meetings, one in Mio, in partnership with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for cattle producers and the community to discuss changes regarding the bovine tuberculosis zoning order and on-farm biosecurity.

The meetings will take place across Alcona, Alpena, Montmorency and Oscoda counties. They will cover the pending changes and will include presentations on the requirements of the proposed new zoning order, the Enhanced Wildlife Biosecurity Program and the current status of the deer herd in the four counties, according to a press release.

“We are proposing changes to the bovine tuberculosis zoning order and when we make changes, we hold meetings to discuss those changes with producers and community members so they’re aware of what’s coming,” said Megan Sprague, communications representative for the animal industry division of MDARD.

Sprague said MDARD is moving toward a move customized approach to protecting cattle farms in the highest risk area of the modified accredited zone.

Bovine tuberculosis is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium bovis and mostly affects the lungs of cattle, but may also occur in the intestines and other parts of the body. However, other animals may become infected when the disease is transmitted between farm animals and wildlife populations. By continuing to eliminate TB-infected animals from herds, paying close attention to the meat inspection and pasteurization processes and using proper food handling and management practices, the chance of bovine TB transmission from animals to humans is virtually eliminated, according to

The last two meetings will be held by MDARD in Presque Isle County to discuss potential changes to wildlife risk mitigation and bovine TB testing requirements. The main objective is to prevent deer from accessing key parts of the farm where bTB transmission may occur.

Bovine tuberculosis can infect a wide variety of animals. As of July 6, nearly 900 out of approximately 230,000 deer tested in Michigan were positive for bTB. Seventy-eight percent of these TB-positive deer were from a core area — Deer Management Unit 452 — where Montmorency, Alpena, Oscoda and Alcona counties meet.

Livestock producers will be expected to take reasonable precautions to prevent transmission of bTB from infected deer to cattle. In general, more risk reduction is expected in areas where TB-infected wildlife are more likely to be found, and Oscoda County was listed as having TB-positive deer in 2014, according to the DNR.

The first meeting is scheduled take place Tuesday, Jan. 16, at Ossineke Township Hall located at 9041 Nicholson Hill Rd. in Hubbard Lake. The second will be Wednesday, Jan. 17, at the Hillman Community Center located at 24220 Veterans Memorial Hwy. in Hillman. Thursday, Jan. 18, the third meeting is scheduled to take place at the Elmer Township Hall located at 863 W. Kittle Rd. in Mio. These three meetings will all be held at 7 p.m.

The fourth meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 23, at the Presque Isle District Library located at 181 E. Erie St. in Rogers City. The final meeting is scheduled to take place Tuesday, Jan. 23 at 7 p.m. at the Allis Township Hall located at 20001 County Road 638 in Onaway.

Sprague said there will be time allotted for questions and answers and each presentation is expected to last 30-45 minutes. She said there is not a strict cutoff time, so as many questions as are presented will be answered during that time.

“I think it’s always helpful and beneficial for producers to know what changes may be coming to the industry and changes coming to the area where they live,” she said. “The information we give them will help them be more prepared for those changes.”


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