August 25, 2006
August 25, 2006 - Several representatives of the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) participated in the National Institute of Animal Agriculture's Animal Identification/Information Exposition 2006 in Kansas City, Mo., this week.
Speaking on Wednesday, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns encouraged participants to continue working toward full participation in a national, voluntary system of animal identification.
Other countries have animal-identification systems they use as a marketing tools and to track their livestock, Johanns said. The U.S. also should have a system for tracing livestock to stay competitive.
"All 50 states, five tribes and two territories are participating in the premises registration. We have 300,000 premises registered," stated Johanns. " We're also approving private and state animal tracking databases. Thus far we have evaluated five of about 20 applications for animal tracking databases. One cooperative agreement has been signed, and I can assure you that more will be on the way in the near future."
During his presentation, Johanns also addressed issues of effectiveness, cost and confidentiality.
Cindy Wolf, DVM, head of the sheep identification working group, presented the identification plan the group prepared for the sheep. She stressed that because of the National Scrapie Eradication Program, most producers already have sheep flock numbers and there is a high degree of compliance with the identification component of the program.
"The sheep industry intends to build upon the successful scrapie program, utilizing technology as it becomes available," presented Wolf. "We will continue to educate and inform our producers about the importance of the compliance of this identification program which will serve to augment the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Animal Identification System (NAIS) efforts."
There was a great deal of enthusiasm throughout the trade show portion of the exposition where vendors displayed the technological advances that have occurred in identification systems over the last couple years.
"It was most refreshing to hear speakers who presented a wider variety of opinions regarding the overall identification effort," concluded Lyndon Irwin, Ph.D., head of the ASI Production, Education and Research Council. "Dr. Wolf did an outstanding job of presenting sheep industry positions in regard to the successes of identification via the existing scrapie program and the need for group lot ID. Group lot provides an effective way for producers to move larger groups of animals through the slaughter channels. We see that as a necessity in addition to low cost and effective technologies."
The sheep working group paper will soon be posted to www.sheepusa.org. Staff contact: Paul Rodgers