The United States Department of Agriculture has verified that when an "extraordinary emergency," exists due to the outbreak of an animal disease, the government may dispose of livestock impacted by the disease and that the owner of the animals will be given fair market value. If, however, the owner intentionally moves or handles animals in a way that violates the law, he will receive no payment.

The Code of Federal Regulations authorizes co-payments to producers through federal and state indemnity funds, with 50 percent coming from each source. If animals are exposed to a disease during interstate shipment - or if a state is unable to pay its 50 percent - the federal government will pay the entire amount.

"Bankers and creditors should be reassured that losses from animal disease are fully covered by a cooperative federal and state indemnity program. Producers will receive fair market value, as appraised by federal and state government employees, for animals depopulated due to an out break of Foot-and-Mouth Disease or other animal disease," said NCBA chief economist, Chuck Lambert.

"The United States remains free of FMD and the risk of an epidemic in North America is remote, said Lynn Cornwell, president of NCBA, "Safety measures and monitoring occurring today have helped the U.S. remain FMD-free for more than 70 years."

Livestock owners can be confident that government programs are in place to make reparations in the event of an animal disease epidemic.

National Cattlemen's Beef Association