Dan Wyant, Michigan state agriculture director announced that the federal government has lifted the ruling that required all Michigan dairy producers to test annually for bovine tuberculosis (TB).

The change was granted after Michigan tested 100 percent of the 3,200 dairy farms in the state and found no evidence of TB outside of four northeastern counties of Alcona, Alpena, Montmorency and Presque Isle. Those four counties will continue annual testing.

After USDA revoked Michigan’s TB-free status last summer, the state department of ag started an immediate statewide testing program. Under the pasteurized milk ordinance (PMO), any state that is not certified as TB-free must annually test all dairy herds for the disease.

Because of the negative test results in all but a group of four counties, the USDA and Food and Drug Administration have waived the testing requirement for dairy cattle in the rest of the state. Now that most dairies will not need further testing, the state will be able to focus more resources on the northeastern lower peninsula, where the disease has been found in 55 cows on 16 farms since 1998, says Wyant. In addition, about 340 white tail deer in the region have tested positive for the disease.

So far, the state has tested 601,965 cattle and 11,400 privately owned deer and elk for the deadly lung disease. Testing of beef cattle will continue for another two years. Since beef cattle are not covered by the PMO, they do not fall under the same annual testing requirement.

Associated Press