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Legislature says yes to bovine aid

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The House unanimously approved a bill aiding cattle farmers in an area of northwestern Minnesota where cattle are infected with bovine tuberculosis.

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The bill establishes a zone in the area where 11 cattle herds have been affected by TB.

It also authorizes a $500-per-animal state payment for cattle within that zone. Cattle would be slaughtered later this year to prevent the disease from spreading and no cattle will be allowed on that land until approved by the state.

Improved fences to keep cattle away from deer or elk, which carry TB, also are funded.

The bill spends about $6 million.

A recent federal decision makes it difficult for Minnesota cattle producers anywhere in the state to move cattle out of state because of the disease.

"It is not a good place for the state of Minnesota to be sitting," said Rep. Dave Olin, DFL-Thief River Falls, who sponsored the bill. "You need authority to take your cattle across state lines."

"This is a crisis if we have ever seen one here in the state," added Rep. Doug Magnus, R-Slayton. "We cannot wait any longer."

The Senate also is considering the bill.

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Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.
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