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      More farms to be tested for bovine TB

      The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is testing 66 Saginaw County farms for bovine Tuberculosis (TB) after a dairy herd tested positive for the disease.

      Last week, MDARD officials said bovine TB was confirmed in a dairy cow.

      In a press release sent out Tuesday, MDARD said, ??laboratory results from herd-mates of the Saginaw County dairy cow are also positive for bovine Tuberculosis.??

      ??It??s something nobody wants to go through,?? Bob Krafft of Krafft Farms in Frankenmuth Township said.

      Krafft owns about 300 cows and milks 100. If MDARD finds more cases of bovine TB on other Saginaw County farms, Krafft??s farm could also be tested.

      Bovine Tuberculosis is an infectious disease that primarily affects cattle. It can be transmitted between wildlife populations such as deer.

      "[The deer] could have been eating with the cattle actually on hay bales and things,?? Krafft said.

      MDARD is testing farms in a 10-mile surveillance circle around the farm to determine if there are other bovine TB exposures. The office is also conducting trace tests of cattle the farm bought or sold by the farm.

      Dr. Rick Smith, MDARD??s Bovine TB coordinator, said a lot of people could be impacted because dairy farmers often sell cattle to beef farms.

      Krafft said, "Possibly any cow that goes to market will have to be tested which is going to get very expensive, very time-consuming."

      If all cattle on the 66 farms being tested test negative, Michigan??s TB-free status won??t change.

      Two informational meetings for Saginaw County beef and dairy cattle producers are scheduled on Monday, April 8 at 2 and 7 p.m. at Jonesfield Township Hall, 217 North Eddy St., Merrill, Michigan.

      For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/emergingdiseases.