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Farm Briefs

USDA to upgrade majority of Minnesota to TB-free status this month

ST. PAUL -- Nearly five years after detecting bovine tuberculosis in northwestern Minnesota, the state Board of Animal Health has received notification that the United States Department of Agriculture will upgrade the majority of Minnesota to TB-free this month.

With the approval of Minnesota's status upgrade application, a large part of the state will be classified TB-free and a smaller section of northwestern Minnesota will be upgraded from Modified Accredited to Modified Accredited Advanced.

"This is the next step in moving our entire state towards becoming TB-free," said Minnesota Board of Animal Health Executive Director and State Veterinarian Dr. Bill Hartmann. "Livestock producers, our staff, numerous state agencies, the USDA, and so many others have been working tirelessly to get this job done. We remain committed to eliminating this disease once and for all."

With this change in status levels, cattle from the new TB-free area will be subject to less federal TB testing requirements when moving from state to state. Herds in the new Modified Accredited Advanced and Management Zones will continue to be subject to shipping and testing restrictions. Maps and information are posted on the state's bovine TB website at Producers should continue to contact the receiving state's animal health agency to verify shipping requirements.

It has been more than 18 months since a TB-infected herd has been detected in northwestern Minnesota. In addition, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recently announced that 450 deer removed earlier this year as part of a disease eradication effort by sharpshooting tested negative for TB.

Save the date for Prairie Biomass Harvest Field Day at Benson

FAIRMONT -- A series of three field days, including one near Benson, will be hosted this fall to discuss and demonstrate the harvesting of native prairie plants for renewable energy.

University of Minnesota, Rural Advantage and University of Minnesota Extension are once again hosting Prairie Biomass Harvest Field Days to highlight wildlife and biofuels research funded through a Conservation Innovation Grant. These three field days are open to the public and will include information on Dr. Clarence Lehman's and colleagues' wildlife and biofuel research project. Attendees will also be able to discuss the state of bioenergy in Minnesota and view the harvest of grasslands for bioenergy production.

The field days include a 3 p.m. Oct. 19 event near Crookston, on Conservation Reserve Program land near the intersection of US Highway 2 and State Highway 32 close to Mentor Wildlife Management Area.

The Benson event is at 3 p.m. Oct. 26 at Glacial Lakes State Park (located between the cities of Benson and Starbuck).

The Windom event is at 2 p.m. Nov. 16 at Talcot Lake Wildlife Management Area (located between the cities of Fulda and Windom).