For Immediate Release
July 22, 2009
Public Information Officer
Montana Department ofLivestock
Import States Drop Restrictions on Montana Cattle
States are dropping restrictions on importing cattle from Montana after the USDA-Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) upgraded the state from Class A to Class Free Status earlier this month.
When Montana diagnosed its second case of brucellosis in May of 2008, several states imposed restrictions on cattle from Montana in advance of the mandatory downgrade from federal Class Free to Class A status. While those states were simply following their own respective protocols, state veterinarian Dr. Marty Zaluski said it's nice to see restrictions being lifted.
"We're glad other states are following USDA recommendations by lifting restrictions on Montana cattle," Zaluski said. "Montana's cattle producers and associated industries worked hard to develop a plan that would reduce the risks of brucellosis and restore confidence in the state's cattle, and the USDA says that plan is sound and well-constructed. We hope that will be good enough for folks in other states."
States that have lifted restrictions include Nebraska (#1 destination for exports to feedlots and for change of pasture), Iowa (#3 feedlots, #4 change of pasture), Colorado (#1 slaughter, #3 feedlots, #5 change of pasture), Wyoming (#2 change of pasture, #7 feedlots), and Kansas (#6 feedlots, #6 change of pasture). Restrictions have also been lifted in California, Idaho, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wisconsin.
Two states that have not yet lifted restrictions are North and South Dakota, which combined account for a significant portion of the cattle shipped out of state: 87 percent of the cattle shipped to markets, 19 percent of the cattle that leave the state for change of pasture, and 15 percent of the cattle that are exported to feedlots.
Officials there are considering lifting restrictions on Montana cattle. North Dakota may not be able to do so until its Board of Animal Health meets later this fall, while South Dakota is waiting for publication of the final APHIS rule upgrading Montana back to Class Free Status.
"North and South Dakota are destinations for a lot of Montana cattle, and we'd like to see those restrictions lifted as soon as possible," Zaluski said. "Producers in both states are great supporters of Montana's cattle industry, and want to continue importing, purchasing and feeding Montana cattle. Lifting the restrictions will benefit livestock producers in all three states.
"Based on the things we have in place here – surveillance, testing, movement restrictions – there is no reason to place additional restrictions on Montana cattle."
Montana had been brucellosis-free since 1985, but the state's Class Free Status was downgraded in September of 2008 after the disease was found twice in a 13-month span. MDOL responded by forming a work group that included producers, veterinarians, market operators and industry organizations to develop a plan for enhanced surveillance. After a series of informational meetings and extensive public comment, the state's Brucellosis Action Plan was officially implemented on May 15, 2009.