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What bovine TB situation means for people with livestockWhat bovine TB situation means for people with livestock

Here are details on who pays for TB testing and what other states might require.

Tom Bechman 1

September 14, 2016

3 Min Read

Showing cattle before 1984 meant paying for a vet to pull samples and test for bovine tuberculosis when moving animals to certain areas. Since Indiana was declared TB-free in 1984, that hasn’t been necessary, for the most part. With the recent incidence of TB in southeast Indiana, testing could become a cost of doing business again.

It already is if you’re taking cattle into Wisconsin. So far that's the only state requiring proof of a negative TB test for cattle entering the state from anywhere in Indiana. However, Denise Derrer, director of communications for the Indiana State Board of Animal Health, says other states could require TB testing in the future.


Here is the third part of a three-part interview Indiana Prairie Farmer conducted with Derrer regarding the discovery of tuberculosis in a Franklin County beef herd in April, and subsequent confirmation of TB in a white-tailed deer in late summer. Part 1 and Part 2 of the interview ran earlier this week.

IPF: You’ve noted that you’re in the process of testing all cattle herds within a 10-mile radius of a site where cattle were kept on the farm where TB was detected, plus a 2-mile stretch on either side of the Whitewater River running south to the Ohio state line. Who is doing the testing?

Derrer: We are contracting with local veterinarians to actually do the sampling. So far we have about a half dozen, and we hope to add more. You can visit our website at boah.in.gov to find a list of contracted veterinarians.

IPF: What if my veterinarian is not on the list?

Derrer: You might ask if they intend to contract with BOAH for testing services. The cost of the surveillance test will be covered and you won’t pay, but only if it is done by a contracted veterinarian. If your vet doesn’t want to be part of the program, you will need to find another vet.

IPF: Who actually pays for the cost of testing?

Derrer: There is an old law on the books in Indiana that requires counties to set aside funds for testing for TB. It dates back to before Indiana was declared bovine TB-free. BOAH has sent requests to county commissioners to secure funds. We will work with them to make sure the cost of testing is covered.

IPF: I don’t live in a testing zone. Will this affect me in any way?

Derrer: It may, especially if you want to take cattle to shows in Wisconsin, or if you are shipping cattle there from Indiana for any reason. Wisconsin has notified us that they are requiring proof of a negative TB test on all cattle entering Wisconsin from Indiana. The cost of that testing will be up to you as the producer.

IPF: Are other states requiring TB testing for cattle from Indiana?

Derrer: We are not aware of it at this time. However, that could change. We always recommend checking with authorities in the state where you are taking or shipping cattle to make sure you know what their health requirements are in advance. BOAH’s website includes a contact list for all states at in.gov/boah/2336.htm. You can also sign up for electronic notification of updates about the ongoing TB situation by visiting our website.

About the Author(s)

Tom Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

Tom Bechman is an important cog in the Farm Progress machinery. In addition to serving as editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer, Tom is nationally known for his coverage of Midwest agronomy, conservation, no-till farming, farm management, farm safety, high-tech farming and personal property tax relief. His byline appears monthly in many of the 18 state and regional farm magazines published by Farm Progress.

"I consider it my responsibility and opportunity as a farm magazine editor to supply useful information that will help today's farm families survive and thrive," the veteran editor says.

Tom graduated from Whiteland (Ind.) High School, earned his B.S. in animal science and agricultural education from Purdue University in 1975 and an M.S. in dairy nutrition two years later. He first joined the magazine as a field editor in 1981 after four years as a vocational agriculture teacher.

Tom enjoys interacting with farm families, university specialists and industry leaders, gathering and sifting through loads of information available in agriculture today. "Whenever I find a new idea or a new thought that could either improve someone's life or their income, I consider it a personal challenge to discover how to present it in the most useful form, " he says.

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