Michigan will receive nearly $3.5 million of $16.8 million in new federal emergency funding to continue efforts to eradicate bovine tuberculosis (TB). Minnesota and California will divide the remainder of the funds available from USDA.

The emergency funding will be used to pay for depopulating TB-infected cattle herds, which is a crucial step in preventing the spread of the disease, and to indemnify farmers, say USDA officials. The funding also will be used for enhanced surveillance to identify affected herds as well as to determine the source of infection. This enhanced surveillance will include free-ranging white-tailed deer in Minnesota and Michigan, a possible source of the disease.

The money earmarked for Michigan is a fraction of the Michigan Department of Agriculture's (MDA) funding request, says John Tilden, MDA's project manager for response to the USDA's TB program review.

"We submitted our request to USDA's Veterinary Services office in Lansing, Mich., asking for money for indemnification for herds that must be depopulated, and for surveillance so the Department of Natural Resources could better define where TB is and where it is not; and for wildlife risk mitigation," he notes.

USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will administer the money, and payments for indemnity will go directly to herd owners from APHIS, according to USDA's spokesperson Rachel Iadicicco. Other funds will go to other APHIS TB activities within Michigan, she said.

"Working cooperatively with state animal health agencies and U.S. livestock producers, we have made great strides toward eradicating tuberculosis from the nation's livestock population," says Bruce Knight, USDA under secretary for marketing and regulatory programs. "We are another step closer towards eradicating bovine tuberculosis from our nation, and this should serve as a reminder why the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) is so critical. By participating in NAIS, we protect our livestock and the future of American agriculture."

TB is a contagious and infectious disease that affects cattle, bison, deer, elk, goats and other warm-blooded species, and can be fatal. The disease can be transmitted to humans through direct contact with infected animals or consumption of raw milk, but it is not transmitted through consumption of pasteurized milk.

Michigan Farm Bureau