MDARD Director: 95 percent of Michigan Counties are Now Bovine TB Free

Agency: Agriculture and Rural Development

October 13, 2014

CONTACT:  Bridget Patrick (517) 284-5661


LANSING, MI – Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Director Jamie Clover Adams today signed the Michigan Bovine TB Zoning Rule giving Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Crawford, Emmet, Otsego, and Presque Isle counties Bovine TB Free status. They now are part of 79 counties with TB test-free movement in Michigan.

“Today we congratulate our producers all over Michigan for their tireless contributions to the disease eradication effort,” Clover Adams said.  “But the fight isn’t over yet, and we won’t be satisfied until we have eradicated this disease from the remaining four Michigan counties, Alcona, Alpena, Oscoda, and Montmorency.”

Michigan has been diligently conducting surveillance testing for bovine TB since it was found in a wild free-ranging deer in 1994. Bovine TB is an infectious disease that is caused by bacteria.  It primarily affects cattle; however, other animals may become infected.  Bovine TB can be transmitted between wildlife populations and livestock.  The disease in animals may occur in the lungs but may also occur in the intestines and other parts of the body.

By the end of 2003, 1.5 million animals were tested, ear tagged, and cleared for movement.  In September 2005, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula was declared bovine TB Free.  In September 2011, the lower half of the Lower Peninsula was returned to bovine TB Free status.  At the same time the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reduced the Modified Accredited area to four counties and designated the Modified Accredited Advanced area as only seven counties.

“Over the past 16 years we have improved our testing approach, conducted research, and found new and useful tests: we have determined the true reservoir of the disease, learned how to reduce the risks of disease spread, invested in our infrastructure with a new Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health at Michigan State University; and the most useful tool we have used has been radio frequency identification tags on our cattle,” Dr. James Averill, State Veterinarian said.  “This made testing and handling cattle more efficient, increased the ability to trace animals to their farm of origin, and in some cases has been a tool for producers to market cattle.”

Fast forward to 2014 and Michigan made another major advancement.  A new split state status rule was published in the federal register on September 10, 2014, and a new Michigan Zoning Order goes into effect today giving all counties in Michigan, except Alcona, Alpena, Montmorency, and Oscoda, bovine TB Free status. 

“Bovine TB is not welcome in Michigan, and we will do everything in our power to help producers mitigate the risk of it impacting their lives and their livelihoods,” Clover Adams said.  “The one thing we have learned through all of this is the importance of animal traceability.”

“Looking forward, we will make sure all Michigan cattle bear “840” ear tags connecting cattle to their farm of origin.  The tag is an efficient way to track disease and stomp it out before it spreads,” Clover Adams said.

MDARD and USDA took public comment for 30 days regarding Michigan’s zones and the federal interim rule that grants TB free Status to the same counties.

To learn more visit:; to see Michigan’s official bovine TB zoning order visit: 


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