Cattle bred for meat production are commonly referred to as beef cattle. Beef is a meat product that is high in protein, iron, zinc and B-vitamins. Some popular beef products are steaks, such as T-bone and Ribeye, roasts and versatile ground beef products.

Cattle bred for milk production are referred to as dairy cattle. Dairy products fall into two major categories, fluid milk and manufactured products, such as cheese, yogurt and butter.

Missouri ranks second in the nation in beef production with 4.25 million head of cattle on 59,000 operations. Missouri ranks 15th in milk production with over 1.6 billion pounds of milk produced in 2008. Missouri Agricultural Statistics Service can provide further information on Missouri’s cattle inventory.


Brucellosis (a.k.a. Bang’s disease or contagious abortion) is an infectious disease of cattle caused by the Brucella bacteria. It causes abortions, sterility and reduced milk production and is infectious to humans. Cattle are required to be tested upon change of ownership, on the farm and at livestock markets, slaughter and exhibitions. Brucellosis is close to being eradicated from the United States. Missouri was classified as a Brucellosis Free state in March 2004.

The United States Department of Agriculture, along with the Missouri Department of Agriculture, administers a certified herd program for brucellosis-free cattle or bison herds. Animals from a certified herd are usually allowed to move interstate without testing. They must travel with a health certificate containing the certified herd number and annual test information.

Individual Certified Herds Program

Uniform methods and rules for establishing maintenance of certified Brucellosis-Free herds of cattle or bison as recommended by the Missouri Department of Agriculture and the United States Department of Agriculture

A herd may qualify as brucellosis-free by one of the following methods.

Herd Certification

  1. Complete herd blood test
  2. For initial certification, a herd must have at least two consecutive negative herd blood tests, between 10 to 14 months apart.

    For herd recertification, a herd must have a negative herd blood test within 60 days of the certification anniversary date to maintain continuous certification. A 60-day grace period, during which a herd may be reinstated with a single negative herd blood test, is allowed.

    For purpose of certifying a herd, the herd blood test must include all natural addition heifers and bulls that are 18 months of age or older.

  3. Milk ring test (BRT)
  4. For initial certification, a herd must have a minimum of four consecutive negative milk ring tests conducted at intervals of 90 days or more. The series must be followed by a negative herd blood test conducted within 90 days after the last negative milk ring test. BRT procedures are not used for recertifying herds.

    A deputy state veterinarian of the owner’s choice shall make the blood tests.

Additions to certified herds

  1. Natural herd increase.
  2. Cattle from certified herds or class free states or areas. No test requirements on breeding or dairy cattle originating from certified brucellosis free herds or class free states or areas. Test eligible animals shall not receive new herd status for sale purpose until they have passed a 60-120 day post entry retest.
  3. Cattle from non-certified herds or non-class free states that are eligible cattle and are from herds not under quarantine must be blood tested negative for brucellosis within 30 days prior to the date of being moved. A 60-120 day post entry retest is required for all eligible cattle purchased from non-certified free herds or non-class free states or areas. These test eligible animals will be isolated from the rest of the herd until the 60-120 day post entry retest is made and is negative. Test eligible animals added to a certified free herd under this provision shall not receive new herd status for sale purpose until they have passed a 60-120 day post entry retest and have been included in a yearly (anniversary) herd test.

Tuberculosis (TB)

Tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious disease caused by Mycobacterium bovis (M. Bovis). This disease can be contracted by cervidae also. Missouri is considered TB free since 1986. TB can be a threat to Missouri is cattle population as long as it exists in cattle and other species in other states.

A tuberculosis-free herd accredited program is administered by the United States Department of Agriculture. More information can be obtained from the Missouri USDA Area Office at

Tuberculosis-Free Accredited Herd Program

  1. Definitions and/or requirements:
    1. Accredited Herd - An accredited herd is one that has passed at least two consecutive annual tuberculin tests, shows no other evidence of bovine tuberculosis, and meets the standards of the uniform methods and rules.
    2. Accreditation and Reaccreditation - To qualify for accredited herd status, the herd must pass at least two consecutive annual tuberculin tests with no evidence of bovine tuberculosis disclosure. All animals must be bona fide members of the herd. Qualified herds may be issued a certificate by local state and federal officials. The accreditation period will be 12 months (365 days) from the anniversary date and not 12 months from the date of the accreditation test. To qualify for accreditation the herd must pass an annual test within a period of 10 to 14 months of the anniversary date.
    3. Animals to be tested - Testing of herds for accreditation shall include all cattle over 24 months of age and any animals, other than natural additions, under 24 months of age. All natural additions shall be individually identified and recorded on the test report as members of the herd at the time of the annual test, even though under two years of age and not tested.
    4. Additions - Herd additions must originate directly from one of the following:
      1. Accredited herd
      2. Herd in an accredited free state
      3. Herd in a modified accredited area that has passed a herd test of all animals over 24 months of age within 12 months, and the individual animals for addition were negative to the tuberculin test conducted within 60 days.
      4. Herd in a modified accredited area not meeting requirements of (a), (b), or (c) in this section. Individual animals for addition must have a negative result on a tuberculin test within 60 days prior to entering the premises of the accredited herd. Such animals must also be kept in isolation from all members of the accredited herd until they have negative results on a test conducted after 60 days from their date of entry into the herd.
      Animals added under (b), (c) and (d) shall not receive accredited herd status for sale purpose until they have been members of the herd at least 60 days and are included in a herd retest.
    5. Authority to test - State laws and/or regulations shall provide authority to apply a tuberculin test to any animal or herd at such times as may be deemed necessary by the cooperating state and federal officials. These officials reserve the right to supervise any test conducted by an accredited veterinarian.
    6. Report of tuberculin tests - A report of all tuberculin tests, including the individual identification of each animal by eartag number or tattoo, age, sex, and breed, and a record of the size of the responses, shall be submitted in accordance with the requirements of the cooperative state and federal officials. Any response noted on the reading of the tuberculin test shall be promptly reported by telephone to the cooperating state and federal officials. The handing of the herd after a response is noted will be by a state/federal regulatory veterinarian in accordance with state regulations and the uniform methods and rules - bovine tuberculosis eradication (UM&R).
    1. Owners of accredited herds shall be required to maintain such environmental conditions as are consistent with the generally accepted standards of good sanitation and herd management.
    2. The use of milk or other dairy products for feeding is prohibited unless such products are from a known safe supply or have been pasteurized or sterilized.
    3. Complete records of all additions to the herd must be kept.
    4. Only properly cleaned and disinfected vehicles may be used for transporting cattle into accredited herds.
  2. Failure on the part of an owner to comply with these methods and rules shall constitute sufficient cause for the revocation of the accredited herd certificate.


For additional information on Johne’s Disease go to the Missouri Johne’s Disease Voluntary Control Program.

Bovine Leukosis Virus (BLV)

Bovine Leukosis is a viral disease that affects cattle. It is a blood-borne infection that is transmitted by the transfer of white blood cells from an infected animal to an uninfected one. The disease causes the immune system to be impaired, leaving the animals vulnerable to other diseases. It can also cause cancer in a variety of body organs. The economic impacts for producers are decreased production of milk and body weight, and possible condemnation of the carcass at processing.

Bovine Leukosis Virus Free Program

These Bovine Leukosis Virus methods and rules (BLV-UMR) are for establishing and maintaining cattle herds as Missouri designated free of Bovine Leukosis Virus (BLV).

The purpose of designating cattle herds free of BLV is to reduce economic loss and qualify such herds for the export of cattle to countries requiring certification of herd status relative to BLV.

The recognized test(s) for the presence of BLV for the purposes of these methods and rules shall be any test(s) approved by the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians and so designated by the state veterinarian of Missouri.

For the purpose of these methods and rules, herd shall be defined as any grouping of one or more animals maintained on a common ground, geographically separated from all other cattle at all times with separated feed, water and drainage systems. All additions to this herd must be in accordance with Part II, Section 1, of these methods and rules.

Qualifying the Herd

  1. Each bovine animal in the herd over 8 months of age shall be tested with the recognized and approved test(s).
  2. Two negative tests at more than 90-day intervals shall be required before a herd may be designated “BLV-Free.”

Maintaining BLV-Free Status

  1. No test is required for additions from a designated BLV-Free herd.
  2. Additions from a non-designated free herd shall be negative to one test within 30 days prior to entry to a designated free herd. Animals shall be held individually or in a group, separate and apart from other cattle, in absence to exposure to any BLV infected animals and they must pass one negative test 60 to 90 days after entering the herd.
  3. Redesignation of a BLV-Free herd shall be annually.
  4. For a herd to be redesignated BLV-Free, all members of the herd that are 18 months of age or older must be tested negative no more than 30 days prior to or 60 days beyond the anniversary date of the initial designation of the herd as BLV-Free.

For further information on BLV or Johne’s programs, contact the Division of Animal Health at (573) 751-3377 or e-mail

For information on import or exhibition regulations contact the Division of Animal Health at (573) 751-3377.

Also the USDA maintains a 24-hour toll free telephone service that provides general import requirements for all states. Use a touch-tone telephone to contact the Voice Response System at (800) 545-8732.