Rancher asks state for bovine tuberculosis help
ST. PAUL -- Snow is melting around Mark Brobst's northwestern Minnesota ranch, signaling the return of deer and, possibly, bovine tuberculosis. The state needs to take action immediately so as to ensure he does not suffer a devastating loss for a...
ST. PAUL -- Snow is melting around Mark Brobst's northwestern Minnesota ranch, signaling the return of deer and, possibly, bovine tuberculosis.
The state needs to take action immediately so as to ensure he does not suffer a devastating loss for a second year, he told senators Thursday. He lost up to $63,000 last year as one of five cattle producers in his area whose herds were slaughtered after one cow in each was found to have TB.
The Grygla-area rancher pleaded with members of the Senate Environment, Agriculture and Economic Development Budget Division to take action in the next two weeks to prevent deer from infecting more cows.
Committee Chairman Dallas Sams, DFL-Staples, said senators will look into the issue in coming days.
Brobst traveled to St. Paul supporting proposals by Sen. Rod Skoe, DFL-Clearbrook, to help prevent TB transmission between deer and cattle.
Skoe seeks an unspecified appropriation to allow the Department of Natural Resources to kill more deer in the extreme northwest Minnesota area that has been affected by bovine TB. He also wants more money for the state to conduct TB tests.
The senator, a farmer, said he is concerned TB will spread to other cattle herds and devastate the state's beef industry. Deer can travel long distances and spread TB out of the immediate area already affected, Skoe said.
Two deer have been found with TB, as well as one head in each of the five cattle herds. Skoe said that it is better to thin the deer population than to risk more cattle herd infections.
"To be on the safe side, we should put on an effort to depopulate the deer in that area," added Sen. Steve Dille, R-Dassel, a veterinarian.
In an interview, Brobst said that he lost $62,000 to $63,000 when government authorities ordered that his 1,011-head herd be slaughtered early this year. He plans to buy more cattle, although they cannot be around his buildings until they have been disinfected -- and that cannot happen until the weather warms.
Brobst told senators that TB was found in his herd six months after he bought the ranch, which he earlier had managed.