WASHINGTON, D.C. – Subcommittee on Livestock and Horticulture Chairman Robin Hayes today held a hearing to review the development of a private sector-based national animal identification system (NAIS). Last week, Agriculture Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte held a full committee hearing to review the implementation of private sector-based systems in Australia and Canada.
In July, Hayes, Goodlatte and other Members of the subcommittee wrote to Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns to request that USDA implement a private-based animal ID system. USDA subsequently announced guiding principles for the development of a public/private partnership that enables the private sector to maintain animal movement data as part of the NAIS. Subcommittee Chairman Hayes called today’s hearing to get input from producer groups about the direction USDA has chosen to take.
“Based on the hearings and countless meetings I have had with constituents, I strongly support an industry-led, private sector-based approach and I am pleased by the Secretary’s decision to utilize the resources already in place, rather than reinvent the wheel. I firmly believe that the best way for a national animal ID program to work is for the producers and industry to work with USDA to develop a system, rather than having bureaucrats in Washington mandate a burdensome, costly program that fails to protect confidentiality, ” said Hayes.
According to USDA, there are four guiding principles for the NAIS:
• The system must be able to allow tracking of animals from point of origin to processing within 48 hours without unnecessary burden to producers and other stakeholders.
• The system’s architecture must be developed without unduly increasing the size and role of government.
• The system must be flexible enough to utilize existing technologies and incorporate new identification technologies as they are developed.
• Animal movement data should be maintained in a private system that can be readily accessed when necessary by state and federal animal health authorities.
The subcommittee heard testimony from representatives within the cattle, dairy, swine and turkey industries. Representatives from the sheep, poultry and horse industries were unable to participate in the hearing; however, Chairman Hayes plans to hear from these groups at a future time.
“We understand these groups are diligently working on their official policies and the subcommittee looks forward to working with them as we move forward with the development of a national animal ID system that is industry-led and responsive to the needs of the nation’s livestock producers,” said Hayes.
Ms. Jodi Luttropp, Coordinator, National Farm Animal Identification and Records, Brattleboro, Vermont on behalf of the Holstein Association USA, Inc.
Mr. Joe Logan, President, Ohio Farmers Union, Kinsman, Ohio, on behalf of the National Farmers Union
Mr. Michael Rybolt, Scientific and Technical Affairs Coordinator, National Turkey Federation, Washington, D.C.
Ms. Joy Philippi, President Elect, National Pork Producers Council, Bruning, Nebraska
Mr. Rick R. Stott, Chairman, Northwest Animal Identification Pilot Project, Boise, Idaho on behalf of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
Mr. Bob Stallman, President, American Farm Bureau Federation, Washington, D.C.