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TB-positive deer triggers cattle testing in 4 countiesTB-positive deer triggers cattle testing in 4 counties

A meeting is set June 9 for those wanting more information.

Jennifer Kiel

June 6, 2022

3 Min Read
cow in barn pen with veterinarian in background
CATTLE TESTING: Because a TB-positive deer was taken in Cheboygan County, each cattle herd within the potential high-risk area — including Cheboygan, Charlevoix, Emmet and Otsego counties — will need to test the whole herd in the next 12 months.dusanpetkovic/Getty Images

What’s new in Michigan’s cattle industry is a continuation of old news. The state continues to struggle with bovine tuberculosis, as cycles of testing continue for cattle producers.

A free-range, white-tailed deer tested positive during the 2021 hunting season outside the core zone where the disease is most prevalent, triggering more testing for four northern Lower Michigan counties. The TB-positive wild deer was harvested in Cheboygan County, outside of the modified accredited zone (MAZ), creating a new potential high-risk area.

The designation is created because of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s (MDARD) memorandum of understanding with USDA and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The agreement upholds Michigan’s requirements for split-state status regarding the risk of bovine TB.

Currently, there are two TB zones within the state: a four-county area in northern Lower Michigan called MAZ (Montmorency, Oscoda, Alpena and Alcona counties), and the remainder of the state is referred to as the accredited free zone (AFZ). With more than 12,000 cattle producers in the state who maintain more than 1.2 million cattle, the program plays a crucial role in maintaining market access for Michigan cattle, meat and milk products.

Because of this new finding, each cattle herd within the potential high-risk area — including Cheboygan, Charlevoix, Emmet and Otsego counties — will need to test the whole herd in the next 12 months, “unless it has already received a whole herd TB test in the previous 12 months.” All cattle and bison herds, including feedlots and freezer beef herds, are included in the required testing.

The potential high-risk area includes the following portions of Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Emmet and Otsego counties:

Charlevoix County

  • Chandler Township, 33N04W, sections 1-4, 9-16, 21-28 and 33-36

  • Hudson Township, 32N04W, sections 1-4, 9-16, 21-27 and 35-36

Cheboygan County

  • Ellis Township, 34N02W, all sections

  • Mentor Township, 34N03W, sections 1-5 and 7-36

  • Nunda Township, 33N02W, all sections; and 33N01W, sections 2-11 and 14-36

  • Walker Township, 34N01W, sections 7-8, 16-22 and 27-35

  • Wilmont Township, 33N03W, all sections

Emmet County

  • Springvale Township, 34N04W, sections 13-14, 23-27 and 33-36

Otsego County

  • Charlton Township, 31N01W, sections 5-7

  • Corwith Township, 32N03W, all sections; 32N02W, all sections; and 32N01W, sections 2-11, 14-22 and 27-33

  • Dover Township, 31N02W, sections 1-18

  • Elmira Township, 31N04W, sections 1-2

  • Livingston Township, 31N03W, sections 1-17

A meeting for affected producers is set for 7 p.m. June 9 at Wolverine Village Hall, 5714 W. Main Street, Wolverine, Mich.

“We encourage all cattle producers in the impacted area to attend the meeting to ask questions and get answers from state agency personnel,” says Ernie Birchmeier, senior industry relations specialist for Michigan Farm Bureau.

“We have made good progress on the TB front lately, with positive changes to the MOU and increased wildlife risk mitigation programs. It is important that we continue to battle the disease on both the wildlife and domestic cattle herd fronts. Collaboration and continued communication and action are all very important.”

“This testing must include all cattle 12 months of age or older, and cattle of any age that were not born on the farm,” wrote Nancy Barr, assistant state veterinarian and Bovine TB Eradication program coordinator for MDARD. “Any herd in the potential high-risk area that had a whole herd TB test on or after May 25, 2021, will not require another test.”

Producers are asked to call the MDARD Atlanta office at 888-565-8626 to schedule a testing date, or to ask any questions you may have about this designation.


About the Author(s)

Jennifer Kiel

Editor, Michigan Farmer

While Jennifer is not a farmer and did not grow up on a farm, "I think you'd be hard pressed to find someone with more appreciation for the people who grow our food and fiber, live the lifestyles and practice the morals that bind many farm families," she says.

Before taking over as editor of Michigan Farmer in 2003, she served three years as the manager of communications and development for the American Farmland Trust Central Great Lakes Regional Office in Michigan and as director of communications with Michigan Agri-Business Association. Previously, she was the communications manager at Michigan Farm Bureau's state headquarters. She also lists 10 years of experience at six different daily and weekly Michigan newspapers on her impressive resume.

Jennifer lives in St. Johns with her two daughters, Elizabeth, 19, and Emily 16.

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