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State budget cuts could crimp Johne's control effort

Program's budget may decrease

By Gary Gunderson

gunder@agrinews.com

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. -- State budget cuts will likely decrease funding for the Minnesota Board of Animal Health's Johne's Disease programs, but the board is seeking to expand the number of beef producers taking part.

The Johne's program is likely to be about half in 2003-04 of what it was in 2001-2002, said Brad Peterson, a board of animal health district veterinarian and Johne's field coordinator. The $400,000 base budget for the two-year period is scheduled for a 10 percent cut to $360,000, and it is unknown if a one-time $250,000 state supplement and $100,000 in federal funds will be available again.

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If the cuts go through and the supplements don't arrive, the Johne's budget will decrease from $375,000 a year to $180,000, Peterson said.

The state program will continue as before as long as the money holds out, Peterson said. The voluntary program helps farmers determine whether their herd carries Johne's by paying for an initial screening of 30 cattle using the blood ELISA test, with the state also paying for followup fecal culture tests if the tests reveal any possible positives.

If the fecal tests come back positive, then the farmer may enter into a risk assessment that will suggest management changes and biosecurity to try and check new infections, Peterson said. The state will also pay for up to 170 more ELISA tests for the rest of the herd. However, the state won't pay for follow-up fecal tests or the cost for veterinarians to draw blood samples. The board has also continued with a Johne's demonstration herd program started in January 2000 by the University of Minnesota, Suskovic said. Anyone with ideas on how to make the Johne's program more relevant for beef producers should call the board of animal health at (651) 296-2942, Ext. 31.

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