BISMARCK (AP) - North Dakota's import restrictions on Minnesota cattle are likely to remain for at least another seven weeks while North Dakota officials gather details about the neighboring state's ''split-state status'' for bovine tuberculosis.
North Dakota livestock and wildlife officials are worried that monitoring and control of northwestern Minnesota cattle and wild deer might not be adequate under the ''split state'' designation recently granted by the federal Agriculture Department.
If there are lapses in control, the ''TB free'' status North Dakota has maintained for more than 30 years might be in jeopardy, said Susan Keller, North Dakota's state veterinarian.
''There's a 125-page risk analysis we're going through now,'' she said Tuesday. ''I don't think we're seeing anything that's giving us more comfort.''
The split state status for bovine TB in Minnesota, granted on Oct. 9, lessens testing requirements for all cattle producers except those in parts of four northwestern counties where the disease has been found in cattle and deer.
''I can understand their argument in that they need to focus resources and money on a smaller area,'' Keller said. ''Our concern has been and continues to be, 'Is the area too small?'''
Bill Hartmann, Minnesota's state veterinarian, said an unofficial survey that drew responses from 27 of the 50 states showed 20 of them acknowledge the split-state status.
North Dakota's Board of Animal Health historically has not recognized split-state designations. The board left in place the import restrictions it approved last February, and likely will not consider a change until its next scheduled meeting on Dec. 10, board President Nathan Boehm said Tuesday.
The board could hold a conference call before then to discuss the matter, he said, but ''it doesn't pay to make everybody spend a morning on the phone when we don't have all the information we need.
''We'd like to do it one time, and get it done,'' Boehm said.
The restrictions, which apply to cattle and other livestock as well as farmed deer and elk, are detailed and complicated. They require more stringent testing and inspections before the animals can be brought west across the Red River along the Minnesota-North Dakota border.
Hartmann said he has invited North Dakota officials to view firsthand the animal movement controls in place in northwestern Minnesota.
''We want to continue to work with North Dakota (officials) to satisfy them that we're able to control movement out of (the bovine TB management zone),'' he said. ''Hopefully we can get movement of cattle from North Dakota to Minnesota working better.''
Hartmann said he likely will be giving presentations on the bovine TB matter during the weeklong annual meeting of the U.S. Animal Health Association in Greensboro, N.C., which gets under way Thursday.
Keller said she and Boehm will be among the North Dakota contingent at the meeting. They hope to gather more information to bring back to the state animal health board members in December.
''We have to have enough facts and enough information so that they make a good decision,'' Keller said. ''This is a huge issue for North Dakota.''