Cattle ranchers in Minnesota's bovine tuberculosis control zone in northwestern Minnesota face a deadline today to sign on to a state buyout program.
The program pays cattle producers $500 per animal to slaughter their herd. They receive an additional annual payment of $75 per animal until the area regains its TB-free status.
Jeff Smith is with the Minnesota Board of Animal Health. He says it looks like about 75 percent of the 68 cattle ranchers will participate in the buyout. Smith says that means about 6,000 animals will be slaughtered through the program.
"I think that if we remove the cattle from that area and the DNR is working with the reduction of the deer population within that area, so we will have much less contact of deer with cattle, and I think that will be very helpful for trying to eliminate the potential spread of the disease," Smith said.
Ranchers who do not participate in the buyout will face tighter herd restrictions in the disease management zone, which includes portions of Roseau and Beltrami counties.