North Dakota Stockmen's head Julie Ellingson says that status is important because ranchers don't face restrictions when they export cattle to other states.
Animal health officials say a beef cow in a south central North Dakota herd has tested positive for bovine TB. It's the first case since 1999. The cow came from Texas and moved through a seller in South Dakota.
It's been removed from the herd and killed. The rest of the herd is being tested to make sure the disease hasn't spread, which could affect the TB-free status. Board of Animal Health President Melvin Leland says officials are confident that it hasn't.