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ALM Applaud USDA Support to Fight Bovine TB
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The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced today it is providing an additional $500,000 to livestock farmers in Alcona, Alpena, Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Crawford, Emmet, Montmorency, Presque Isle, Oscoda and Otsego counties to implement practices that keep bovine TB carriers such as deer and other wildlife away from their animals.

Source: Agricultural Leaders of Michigan

Agricultural Leaders of Michigan Applaud USDA Support to Fight Bovine Tuberculosis

Agricultural Leaders of Michigan today applauded new resources to help stop bovine tuberculosis from spreading in northern Michigan and putting livestock producers and local jobs at risk.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced today it is providing an additional $500,000 to livestock farmers in Alcona, Alpena, Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Crawford, Emmet, Montmorency, Presque Isle, Oscoda and Otsego counties to implement practices that keep bovine TB carriers such as deer and other wildlife away from their animals.

“Bovine tuberculosis is a serious threat to Michigan’s dairy industry, which employs more than 26,500 people across the state, and we welcome efforts to stop it in its tracks,” said Ken Nobis, president of the Michigan Milk Producers Association. “The dairy sector is Michigan’s No. 1 commodity and pumps more than $6 billion into our economy. We look forward to growing this important industry further and creating more jobs and opportunities – and that means addressing the threat of disease effectively.”

“Michigan pork producers applaud the announcement by the Department of Agriculture to give livestock farmers the tools and resources we need to keep disease threats at bay,” said Sam Hines, executive vice president of the Michigan Pork Producers Association. “Michigan’s pork farmers are working hard to attract new investments and compete in more markets. The last thing we need are devastating diseases and invasive species such as feral swine that carry bovine TB that will set us back and hurt local farmers, and we welcome the USDA’s support for Michigan livestock farmers.”

Bovine tuberculosis is believed to be spread to livestock, including cattle and dairy cows as well as domestic hogs, by wild deer through direct contact or from contaminated food or water. While bovine TB is generally not a threat to humans, they are devastating to domestic livestock. The state Department of Agriculture earlier this year set up high-risk monitoring zones in a handful of northern Michigan counties after deer were tested positive for the disease in 2010 and 2011. In April 2011, several beef cattle were also destroyed in Alpena County because of positive bovine TB tests. The state has adopted several vital steps to prevent the spread of bovine TB, including a ban on deer baiting and implementation of zoning measures.

“The spread of Bovine TB in Michigan has led to severe economic consequences for the entire state,” said Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. “I’m working closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help Michigan producers address the spread of the disease, so that Michigan’s hardworking livestock producers can focus on what’s important – growing their businesses, creating jobs and boosting Michigan’s economy. Agriculture is a major cornerstone of Michigan’s economy, supporting one out of every four jobs, and I’m focused on making sure the industry continues growing.”

Cattle are Michigan's fifth-most valuable commodity, reaching nearly $290 million in cash receipts in 2009. 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. Stabenow has been working with federal officials to allocate resources that would eliminate the spread of the disease. Statewide support for the program is widespread.

“Michigan’s livestock sector is a very promising area in our state’s agriculture economy, with tremendous potential for growth and increased investments, and that’s why we must do everything we can to contain threats to local businesses, farmers, producers and workers,” said Dave Armstrong, president and CEO of GreenStone Farm Credit Services. “We applaud the USDA and Sen. Debbie Stabenow for their leadership on this issue and giving Michigan agriculture a way to fight back against diseases that threaten millions of dollars in investments and thousands of local jobs. Michigan agriculture is competing in a global economy, and we won’t slow down for bovine tuberculosis.”

“The spread of diseases and disease management are among the most significant issues facing Michigan agriculture today, and the USDA and Sen. Debbie Stabenow deserve credit for recognizing their impact on the agriculture economy,” said Jim Byrum, president of the Michigan Agri-Business Association. “These additional resources are even more important at a time when Michigan livestock farmers are doing more and producing more with less. They also address agriculture’s strong belief that an ounce of prevention now is better than a pound of cure later.”

“We greatly appreciate the ongoing partnership between Michigan agriculture and the USDA, and encourage these partnerships to continue,” said Ben Kudwa, legislative director of the Potato Growers of Michigan, Inc. “It’s important that we keep working together to take on the threats to all sectors of Michigan’s agriculture economy. Disease management is essential to our future and to our ability to compete in today’s global marketplace.”

The $500,000 is the third allocation of funding for bovine tuberculosis for the 11-county area in northern Michigan over the last three months, bringing the total invested in preventing the spread of and eradicating bovine tuberculosis to $1.5 million. This represents the largest USDA investment in the Northern Michigan livestock industry in decades. Financial assistance from the USDA can be used by livestock producers to implement practices that will keep deer from livestock as well as forage and water used by livestock animals. Examples of practices eligible for financial assistance include fencing, use-exclusion practices, watering facilities and forage harvest management. Producers selected to receive financial assistance will receive program payments after the practices are implemented. For more information producers can visit their local NRCS field office or go to the NRCS-Michigan Web site at www.mi.nrcs.usda.gov.


  • Dave Armstrong, President and CEO of GreenStone Farm Credit Services:
    (517) 318-2290
  • Ken Nobis, President of the Michigan Milk Producers Association:
    (248) 474-6672
  • George House, Executive Director of Michigan Allied Poultry Industries Inc.:
    (616) 676-5593
  • Ben Kudwa, Legislative Director of the Potato Growers of Michigan:
    (517) 669-8377
  • Sam Hines, Executive Vice President, Michigan Pork Producers Association:
    (517) 853-3782
  • Jim Byrum, President of the Michigan Agri-Business Association:
    (517) 336-0223