June 11, 2004
June 11, 2004 -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on June 10, 2004, that it will hold a series of listening sessions across the country to discuss the development, structure and implementation of a National Animal Identification System (NAIS) for all livestock and poultry animals.
According to Bill Hawks, under secretary for marketing and regulatory programs, ?These sessions will provide public forums to discuss the national animal identification program. A national program will help the government and industry more quickly control outbreaks of a variety of animal diseases and reduce the economic impacts on the market.?
USDA?s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has received more than $18 million to begin the implementation of a national system. A premise identification system will be completed this summer, which will allow for the beginning of pilot programs to test identification systems.
?The sheep working group has presented to USDA its recommendations on how to implement a national identification plan for sheep as well as the types of devices to use,? stated American Sheep Industry Association President Guy Flora. ?It will be important for the state associates to be available to represent the sheep industry at the various listening sessions across the country.?
ASI has current policy on a national identification program for livestock.
The first session will be held on June 14 in North Carolina with 13 additional meetings scheduled through the end of August. Details about the sessions can be found at Listening Sessions
on the World Wide Web.
Staff contact: Paul Rodgers, 303-771-3500