Agriculture Briefs

Cattle infected with bovine TB traced to Michigan farm

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Officials say bovine tuberculosis has been detected in a western Michigan cattle herd. The state Department of Agriculture and Rural Development says two cattle that tested positive at a processing facility were traced to a farm in Ottawa County. The department has established a three-mile surveillance area around the farm. All cattle in the area must undergo testing within six months. Officials say the infected animals originated with a herd in Franklin County, Indiana, that tested positive for bovine TB in 2016. Indiana and Michigan are among six states known to have cattle with the chronic respiratory illness. Officials say the bovine TB strain in Ottawa County is different from a type that has infected cattle and deer in Michigan’s northeastern Lower Peninsula. A public meeting concerning the Ottawa County outbreak is scheduled for March 6 in Grandville, Michigan.

9 infected deer killed during hunt to gauge Montana disease

BILLINGS (AP) — Hunters killed at least nine infected deer during a pair of special hunts intended to gauge the prevalence of a newly-found wildlife disease in Montana. State officials announced Friday that hunters killed more than 450 deer before the special hunts ended this week in Bridger and Liberty counties. Tests on some animals are still pending. Biologists are looking for chronic wasting disease, a fatal neurological illness that first appeared in Montana last fall. This past Thursday wildlife commissioners approved maximum quotas of up to 5,000 deer, 1,000 elk and 20 moose that could be killed during any additional special hunts over the next two years. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesman Greg Lemon said that the agency hopes to keep the prevalence rate of the disease below 5 percent of animals in any given population.

Rampaging bull leads to high school lockdown in Idaho

BURLEY, Idaho (AP) — A high school in southeast Idaho was briefly placed on lockdown after a bull escaped an auction yard and stormed past the campus. The Times-News reports the Black Angus bull rampaged across the town of Burley on Feb. 13, trampling over signs and charging at people before arriving at Burley High School. Sheriff Jay Heward says the officers were not able to capture the bull, so the animal was killed in order to keep the public safe. The sheriff says no gunshots were fired on school grounds. The Cassia County Sheriff’s Office notified school officials, who placed the campus on lockdown for about 15 minutes as sheriff’s deputies followed the animal on the campus. Principal Levi Power says students had been dismissed for lunch, but staff was able to secure the school.

USDA: Small, midsize farms are decreasing in Nebraska

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture says small and midsize farms across Nebraska have lost much of their land and revenue to bigger operations over the past two decades. The Omaha World-Herald reports that many of these farms have been caught between falling prices and rising costs. As a result, the number of smaller farms in the state has decreased while the number of larger farms has risen. Farms with more than $500,000 in annual sales more than tripled between 1997 and 2012. But farms with revenue between $100,000 and $499,999 decreased 20 percent. Jay Rempe is a senior economist at Nebraska Farm Bureau. He says farm consolidation means there are more efficient and productive farms, which give consumers a variety of low priced food options.

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