Dillon, Three Forks, and Emigrant. The Montana Department of Livestock is hosting a series of important meetings over the next several days focused on brucellosis in the vicinity of Yellowstone National Park.

Mike Honeycutt, the Director of the Montana Department of Livestock, joined us Monday morning in advance of the meetings to talk about the latest elk surveillance results when it comes to brucellosis concerns.

Mike Honeycutt: We have a designated surveillance area for brucellosis because we have a reservoir of Brucella left in wildlife here in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the only place in North America where we have that...In Beaverhead, Madison, Gallatin, and Park counties, portions of those counties, the producers who produce cattle in that area have to surveil their cattle, test their cattle on an annual basis, test their cattle before they're shipped out, to make sure that our trading partners are confident that we're not spreading that brucellosis through the cattle population into cattle populations, either domestically or internationally.

Honeycutt says the latest elk surveillance results were good news for cattle producers.

Mike Honeycutt: This past year, we concentrated on the Pioneer mountains northwest of Dillon. We've done different areas every year, we've done all the way over to Ashland at times- collared and captured elk over there and testing for brucellosis just to make sure we have our hands around it. And I think the big thing is, is that we did not find positive elk in that area that is outside of our designated surveillance area. And the purpose of that activity is if we find elk that are positive in areas that are not currently within the boundaries of BSA, we have to consider expanding the BSA and then bringing the producers that ranch in that area into our surveillance program. So that's really good that we didn't see an expansion this year.

According to a press release from the MT Department of Livestock, the department will also discuss a recent audit of the state’s brucellosis program by the United States Department of Agriculture – Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. The Brucellosis Designated Surveillance Area affects cattle producers who own or graze cattle in portions of Beaverhead, Madison, Gallatin, and Park Counties where Brucellosis is known to be established in wildlife.


Here's the dates and locations for each of the three meetings:


May 16



Beaverhead County 4-H Building


May 17


Three Forks

Headwaters Livestock Auction


May 23



St. John’s Episcopal Church


Here's the full audio of our chat with Mike Honeycutt in the 2nd half of the below podcast:

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