Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

White-tailed deer farmers could get financial help after feeling impacts of movement bans

Chronic wasting disease has forced the Department of Natural Resources to impose movement bans on farmed white-tailed deer in Minnesota.

But the bans have impacted possible farm revenue.

HF3903, sponsored by Rep. John Burkel (R-Badger), would appropriate $1 million to the Department of Agriculture to reimburse farmers for expenses and lost revenue due to the temporary movement bans.

Payments of up to $10,000 would be on a first-come, first-served basis.

Approved, as amended, 7-6 by the House Agriculture Finance and Policy Committee Wednesday, the bill was referred to the House Environment and Natural Resources Finance and Policy Committee.

“Whatever our personal views on deer farms are at the moment, and the oversight and regulation of these farms and what are the best possible solutions to invest in the future of deer farming in Minnesota going forward, I think it’s incumbent upon us to alleviate some of this financial pressure that the state of Minnesota, and particularly the Department of Natural Resources, have forced these small farms to endure,” Burkel said.

The DNR created a temporary movement ban in Douglas County in December 2019 after discovery of chronic wasting disease at a white-tailed deer farm.

Another instance of the fatal, neurological illness was found at a white-tailed deer farm in Beltrami County in May 2021 and led to another ban. This instance received particular attention when it was alleged there was disposal of farmed, disease-contaminated deer carcasses on public lands. This ban included an exception for movement necessary for slaughter.

A discovery of the disease at a white-tailed deer farm in Wisconsin in October 2021, led to another DNR ban on movement except if necessary for slaughter or to transport deer through the state to an area outside of Minnesota. Set to expire on April 11, 2023, the ban was rescinded in December 2021.

“All three times the DNR enacted movement bans was in reaction and response to CWD-positive deer in deer farms within the state or out of the state,” said Robert Gorecki, a regional enforcement manager with the DNR. “I just want to remind the committee that that is the reason why we’re doing that. It isn’t through no fault of anybody, not trying to point anything out to any particular person, but it is in response to the deer farm and the deer farm industry and the movement of potentially CWD-positive deer.”

“Although the testimony is compelling, it would also set a dramatic precedence for compensation for various actions needed to respond to either a pandemic or a disease outbreak,” said Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL-South St. Paul). “I don’t think we want to go there.”

Its companion, SF3854, is sponsored by Sen. Mark Johnson (R-East Grand Forks) and awaits action by the Senate Agriculture and Rural Development Finance and Policy Committee.

Related Articles

Priority Dailies

Ways and Means Committee OKs proposed $512 million supplemental budget on party-line vote
(House Photography file photo) Meeting more needs or fiscal irresponsibility is one way to sum up the differences among the two parties on a supplemental spending package a year after a $72 billion state budg...
Minnesota’s projected budget surplus balloons to $3.7 billion, but fiscal pressure still looms
(House Photography file photo) Just as Minnesota has experienced a warmer winter than usual, so has the state’s budget outlook warmed over the past few months. On Thursday, Minnesota Management and Budget...

Minnesota House on Twitter