Moolenaar's bovine TB bill sent to governor
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
LANSING – Bovine TB legislation sponsored by Sen. John Moolenaar is on its way to the governor’s desk. The bill would encourage cattle producers to protect their herds from bovine tuberculosis (TB) and ensure they do not lose their property tax exception.
“This reform is about protecting cattle producers, who have taken steps to protect their cattle from bovine TB and are now at risk of losing their agriculture tax status,” said Moolenaar, R-Midland. “We should be encouraging cattle owners to participate in the state’s preventative program and thanking them for their help, not raising their taxes.”
Michigan began the Wildlife Risk Mitigation Program in 2009 to provide expert guidance to producers on cattle-wildlife interaction and help stop the spread of bovine TB. Cattle owners in the program are assisted by the U.S. and Michigan agriculture departments in creating plans to stop the spread of the disease to cattle by preventing deer from entering areas where cattle roam.
“In some cases, producers are required to build barriers to their property in an effort to keep infected deer away from cattle and cattle feed,” Moolenaar said. “If cattle owners fail to meet the risk mitigation requirements, they are prohibited from selling their cattle as risk mitigated – which costs producers money in expensive testing to ensure safety.”
Senate Bill 725 would clarify that implementing impactful bovine TB safeguards under the state’s Wildlife Risk Mitigation Program would not cause cattle producers to lose their agricultural tax status. The bill was supported by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and the Michigan Farm Bureau.
“We appreciate cattle producers who are working to help stop the spread of bovine TB. This legislation sends a clear message that responsible land owners who participate in the Wildlife Risk Mitigation Program will not be penalized with high property taxes,” said Moolenaar.
Michigan’s two bovine TB zones are the Modified Accredited Zone consisting of Alcona, Alpena, Montmorency and Oscoda counties; and the Modified Accredited Advanced Zone that includes Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Crawford, Emmet, Otsego and Presque Isle counties.
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