HELENA - A second case of brucellosis has been uncovered in Montana, meaning that the state will lose its brucellosis-free status.
While the presence of brucellosis does not present a public health risk to consumers, it means more rigorous testing of cattle at the expense of the industry, according to the Montana Department of Livestock report issued Monday.
Gov. Schweitzer previously had advocated for a better brucellosis management strategy near Yellowstone National Park, calling for a small, separate management zone - termed "split-state status" by USDA - for the area immediately surrounding the park.
Less than five percent of Montana's cattle or area would have been affected.
Some organizations, including the Montana Cattleman's Association, supported the idea of split-state status while others, including the Montana Stockgrowers Association, opposed the idea.
Under a split-state status scenario, increased testing of cattle and other measures would have been required only in the area immediately surrounding the park and the entire state's cattle industry would not now be subject to loss of its disease-free status.
"Unfortunately, this is what I most feared, and what I predicted," Schweitzer said. "We discussed this with USDA and negotiated a path toward split-state status."