Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples has received notice from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that Texas has been declared brucellosis-free. This news means for the first time in the 74-year history of the brucellosis program, all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have simultaneously achieved Class Free status.
“Today is a landmark day for the nation's number one cattle state. Decades of hard work are now paying off with this incredible accomplishment. I commend the Texas cattle industry and the Texas Animal Health Commission for working together to establish Texas as brucellosis-free,” Commissioner Staples said.
For nearly five decades, Texas cattle producers have battled brucellosis, a bacterial disease that poses no threat to food safety, but can cause decreased milk production, weight loss, infertility, loss of young and lameness in cattle. There is no known treatment for brucellosis, and depopulation of infected and exposed animals is the only effective means of disease containment and eradication.
There are 14 million head of cattle in Texas, more than half of the state's people population, and cattle production is the number one agriculture commodity in Texas in terms of cash receipts. Bottom line, the cattle industry is big business in Texas.
“The Texas cattle industry is a $16 billion business for the Texas economy. This new brucellosis-free status will positively improve the industry and help our dedicated cattle producers,” Commissioner Staples said.
This is historic news, but the work is not over. Brucellosis-free status is based on a state finding no known brucellosis in cattle for 12 months. A state's status can change if brucellosis is found in more than one herd of cattle in a brucellosis-free state within a two-year period.