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July 14, 2009

Johanns Urges Vilsack To Help Nebraska Protect Its Tuberculosis-Free Status

Washington, DC

Senator Mike Johanns today sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack requesting that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provide funding to depopulate the cattle herd in Nebraska where tuberculosis (TB) was discovered in two cows in early June. Under the Animal Health Protection Act, Secretary Vilsack is authorized to allocate funds to producers "when a pest or disease of livestock threatens any segment of agricultural production in the United States."

"The state of Nebraska and USDA veterinarians have been working very hard testing thousands of cattle for tuberculosis. Every test since the initial TB discovery in June has come back negative," Johanns said. "USDA has a clear history of depopulating TB-positive herds in other states. It's time for them to step up to the plate and do the same in Nebraska to minimize the negative impact of this detection and allow our producers to get back on track."

If USDA does not depopulate this herd, Nebraska is in real jeopardy of losing its TB-free status. This would have significant negative impacts on Nebraska's cattle industry.

The letter (attached below) was also signed by Senator Ben Nelson as well as Congressmen Jeff Fortenberry, Lee Terry, and Adrian Smith.

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