LANSING, Michigan — Federal officials have tentatively declared seven more northern Lower Peninsula counties free of bovine tuberculosis, a disease that can be fatal for livestock and wildlife.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the move Wednesday for Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Crawford, Emmet, Otsego and Presque Isle counties.
Michigan can adopt the changes immediately, although they won't become official until after a public comment period.
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has scheduled hearings Sept. 25 in Wolverine and Atlanta on whether to revise zoning rules to reflect the status change.
With the change, only northern Michigan's Alcona, Alpena, Montmorency, and Oscoda counties will remain without bovine TB-free status. Michigan has been battling the disease for 19 years.
Bovine TB background: http://1.usa.gov/163Ao7y