USDA Secretary Ann Veneman has stated that her agency is preparing a plan to compensate U.S. farmers with fair-market value for livestock losses should foot-and-mouth disease ever hit the United States.

“We are making every effort to reduce the risks so that FMD will not enter our country,” Veneman told the House Agriculture Appropriation subcommittee. “However, we must always be on guard. It is responsible to plan and prepare in case there ever were an emergency. That is why our agency has been increasing our vigilance in the areas of prevention and preparedness.”

Veneman reported that the agency is outlining the details of a producer compensation program. She also pointed out that the United States has adequate resources available to ensure the nation will be able to respond quickly and effectively if a foreign animal disease emergency were ever to surface.

Veneman's report was part of a Senate act that mandated the secretary to address several points relating to FMD and mad cow disease. Veneman further outlined USDA's anti-FMD program, which includes:

  • Prohibit product shipments high-risk countries
  • Increase personnel at ports of entry
  • Tighten regulatory enforcement
  • Increase surveillance of incoming passengers and cargo
  • Enhance monitoring and surveillance of domestic livestock
  • Strengthening federal, state and industry coordination
  • Implement public education campaigns, and dispatch experts to the United Kingdom to assist in contaminant efforts