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Last N.M. Bovine TB Travel Restrictions Lifted

CLOVIS — The lifting of bovine tuberculosis travel restrictions on the New Mexico beef and dairy industries this week could mean an economic bonus for the state and a collective sigh of relief for producers in Curry and Roosevelt counties.

“It’s very good news,” said Walter Bradley of Clovis, a former lieutenant governor and now spokesman for Dairy Farmers of America.

Bradley explained the restrictions limited transportation of cattle across state lines — a huge impediment to several large dairy calf farm operations in Curry and Roosevelt counties. And, Bradley said, the restrictions subjected dairy and beef cattle producers to a series of costly and lengthy tests.

“It’s expensive and a pain,” said Charlie Rogers, owner and general manager of Clovis Livestock Auction.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s decision Tuesday to lift all restrictions is particularly significant for eastern New Mexico.

All of the state was placed under mandatory movement restrictions and testing requirements in 2008, after isolated cases of bovine TB were found in Curry and Roosevelt counties. Two years ago, those restrictions were lifted for all counties except Curry and Roosevelt.

“This has been a long road to get these restrictions lifted,” said State Veterinarian Dave Fry. “It’s a major economic issue with the producers in… (Curry and Roosevelt) counties. It’s cost them a lot of money.”

Fry said New Mexico was one of just four states under restriction. Twenty-four consecutive months of tests showed the state disease-free.