The Montana Department of Livestock will hold meetings across Eastern Montana next week to discuss a proposed mandatory brucellosis vaccination for all heifers.
Having the mandatory vaccination would assure importers of Montana cattle that the state was doing everything possible to keep cattle brucellosis-free, according to Marty Zaluski, state veterinarian.
The state does not require cattle to be vaccinated for brucellosis except in Gallatin, Madison, Park and Beaverhead counties.
Wyoming and Idaho do have official calfhood vaccination policies, and there is a concern Montana could be perceived as doing less to control brucellosis if it doesn’t join in.
Members of two of Montana’s largest livestock groups, the Montana Stockgrowers Association and Montana Farm Bureau Federation, have formalized policies officially opposing the vaccination of all sexually intact female calves because they think it’s unnecessary. The Farm Bureau supports vaccinating only breeding heifers and heifers imported to Montana for that reason.
A copy of the proposal will be available at the meetings and is posted on the department’s Web site, www.liv.mt.gov.
Meetings have been scheduled for:
• Feb. 17, Glasgow Stockyards, 3 p.m.
• Feb. 18, Western Livestock Auction, Great Falls, 1 p.m.
• Feb. 22, Miles City Livestock Commission, 1:30 p.m.
• Feb. 23, Public Auction Yards, Billings, 1:30 p.m.
• Feb. 24, Montana Livestock Company, Ramsay, 10 a.m.
• Feb. 25, Headwaters Livestock Auction, Three Forks, 1 p.m.