Senate committee meets in Alcona County about bovine TB, visits farms

I was honored to host members of the Senate Agriculture Committee for a public meeting in Alcona County to discuss bovine tuberculosis (TB) in the region as part of a continued effort to bring Lansing to our communities.

In northeast Michigan, bovine TB is persistent in wild deer and a continuous threat to area dairy and cattle farmers. It’s a serious issue affecting families, farmers and entire communities. We need to take a hard look at how we can protect this region and the entire state from this disease.

The committee meeting was open to the public and was an excellent opportunity for residents to express their concerns directly to legislators. It opened with a presentation by State Veterinarian Dr. James Averill with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Also providing expert insights into bovine TB in the region were numerous local officials and farmers and State Wildlife Veterinarian Dr. Kelly Straka of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

After the meeting, I joined committee chairman Sen. Joe Hune and Rep. Sue Allor for a tour of local farms in the area impacted by bovine TB, including Jeremy Werth’s dairy farm near Alpena. His herd was discovered to have TB two years ago and they went through the process of testing. Eventually they had to cull the herd and start from scratch.

We have much to do to solve this problem, which is why I was proud to support funding in the state budget to combat bovine TB.