Rapid City to host USDA National Animal Identification Hearing Session
June 2, 2009
South Dakota Stockgrowers Association is excited to learn that United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has selected Rapid City, SD to host one of the hearing sessions he has requested for the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). The hearing session will be on June 11, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Rushmore Plaza Holiday Inn, Rapid City, SD.
According to SD Stockgrower Association’s Animal ID Committee Chairman Bill Kluck, Mud Butte, SD Secretary Vilsack has chosen not to move forward with the NAIS until he has heard from the producers who are opposing the program. Bill said “USDA has been attempting to implement this plan for at least five years, using over $140,000,000, and only has 33% compliance at this time”.
NAIS is a program that specifies that all cattle and horses and many other animals including poultry be individually identified with a USDA 15 digit number. Large poultry flocks and large feedlots would be exempted from individual tags and allowed to use lot numbers. However, farmers and ranchers with livestock must tag individually and must document movement or death of each tagged animal, and any commingling with other livestock, within a 24 hr time slot. Those not in compliance could be fined.
With the proposed NAIS program, anyone owning livestock would also have to register their land with the federal government.
“The majority of South Dakotans are strongly opposed to this program which has been touted as a disease traceability program to protect livestock in event of a major disease outbreak” Kluck said, and he added “We feel that an emphasis should be put on disease prevention at our borders and with our wildlife instead of attempting to reinvent an animal disease program that has been very effective for many years.”
Kluck said “Many of these meetings have already been held throughout the nation and approximately 90% of the speakers have been in opposition. He said “the government needs to hear from us, and listen to us, and we have the opportunity to be heard right here in Rapid City.” He said he would strongly urge every animal owner to attend this hearing even if they don’t speak, the numbers will send a strong signal.