LANSING, Mich. – During annual surveillance testing, The Michigan Dept. of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) recently confirmed bovine tuberculosis (TB) in a large dairy herd in Alpena County and a large beef herd in Montmorency county. They are the 67th and 68th herds identified in the state of Michigan since 1998.

Both herds are within the US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA)-designated bovine TB Modified Accredited Zone (MAZ). The zone encompasses Alcona, Alpena, Montmorency and Oscoda counties. Herds are surveillance tested annually and cattle are tested before movement in the area to prevent the spread of disease.

Within the MAZ, bovine TB is endemic in the free-ranging white-tail deer population. Shared contact between cattle and the deer presents potential for the infection of cattle. Michigan State Univ. Extension, MDARD, the USDA Wildlife Services, Alpena Conservation District and local producers are working together to help cattle producers strengthen their herds’ protection against wildlife interactions and bovine TB in the MAZ through a voluntary Enhanced Wildlife Risk Mitigation program for high-risk herds.

“This Enhanced Wildlife Risk Mitigation partnership gives these farmers access to the most knowledgeable bovine TB experts in the country, increasing their ability to prevent infection,” said assistant state veterinarian, Rick Smith, DVM. “The importance of this program is demonstrated by the amount of time and energy donated to this effort, through these teams, by the cattle farming community in order to help their neighbors.”

Disease control experts, local producers and herd owners work to asses vulnerabilities, provide education on bovine TB transmission, examine deer behavior and suggest changes to farmers, helping them strengthen biosecurity. MDARD has also provided funding opportunities through cost-sharing to producers to aid in the implantation of recommendations that might be cost prohibitive.