Montana is expanding the area where cattle producers are required to vaccinate animals at risk for the disease brucellosis. The Montana Department of Livestock will travel the state this month to remind ranchers and address questions ahead of next calving season.
In a few weeks, Dr. Eric Liska will travel to Big Horn County to host his first of ten informational meetings about brucellosis regulations.
“It’s a reminder to make sure they set up with their veterinarian that next spring, after their cows calve, they have an opportunity to vaccinate before enforcement begins in 2021,” says Liska.
That’s when the grace period ends for requirements enacted last October.
Previously, only four counties in the Yellowstone area had to vaccinate cattle and domestic bison that were older than a year. Now those rules apply to another six: Big Horn, Broadwater, Carbon, Jefferson, Stillwater, and Sweet Grass C
The vaccination requirements were expanded to include counties that contain or border on an area where infected wildlife have been found.
Dr. Liska says most of the infected livestock herds he’s worked with are believed to have been infected by wild elk.
He says most producers in the state of Montana already vaccinate their females.
“That said, some producers in the ten counties where the vaccination requirements exist, some of their older females might not be vaccinated already.”
He said that could be because of some misconceptions.
“If you vaccinate an older female that she will be positive for a test for brucellosis,” he says.
Dr. Liska says that’s no longer the case. Former versions of the vaccine used to give false positives but the current form does not.
It’s one of the misunderstandings he hopes to address as he speaks with ag producers from around the Yellowstone area August and September.
Dr. Liska will host an informational meeting in each of the ten counties where the vaccination requirements will be enforced.
The Department of Livestock will hold a series of public meetings about the new requirements:
• Beaverhead County: September 10th 3-5:30 at the Beaverhead County Fairgrounds 4-H building in Dillon
• Big Horn County: August 26th 8am-10:30 at the Big Horn County Courthouse in Hardin
• Broadwater County: September 10th 8am-10:30 at the Broadwater County Fairgrounds 4-H building in Townsend
• Carbon County: August 26th 1pm-3:30 at the Carbon County Extension Office in Joliet
• Gallatin County: September 9th 12pm-2:30pm at the Gallatin Conservation District in Manhattan
• Jefferson County: August 28th 2:30-5pm at the Jefferson County Clerk and Recorders office in Boulder
• Madison County: August 28th 8am-10:30 at the Senior and Community Center in Twin Bridges
• Park County: September 9th 8am-10:30 at the Park County Extension office in Livingston
• Stillwater County: August 27th 8am-10:30 at the County Courthouse west annex (old hospital) in Columbus
• Sweet Grass County: August 27th, 2:30-5:00 at the Sweet Grass County Courthouse Extension Annex in Big Timber
Olivia Reingold is Yellowstone Public Radio’s Report for America corps member.