June 15, 2004
June 2004 -- Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman announced April 27, 2004, the framework for implementation of a National Animal Identification System (NAIS) designed to identify any agricultural premise exposed to a foreign animal disease so that it can be more quickly contained and eradicated.
The program will be implemented in three main phases:
- Under Phase I, USDA will evaluate current federally funded animal identification systems and determine which system(s) should be used for NAIS, begin the process of communicating with and educating producers and other stakeholders on the operation of NAIS, identify staffing needs and develop any regulatory and legislative proposals needed for the system's implantation.
- Phase II will involve the implementation of the selected animal ID system at the regional level for one or more selected species, continuation of the communications and education efforts, addressing regulatory needs and working with Congress on any needed legislation.
- In Phase III, the selected animal ID system(s) will be scaled up to the national level.
Veneman also announced that $18.8 million will be transferred from the USDA Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) to provide initial funding for the program during FY 2004.
Veneman said the CCC funding is earmarked for the initial infrastructure development and implementation of the national system, but both private and public support will be required to make it fully operational. The Administration's proposed FY 2005 budget includes another $33 million for the effort.
U.S. sheep industry representatives began working on a sheep-specific ID plan more than a year ago. A policy resolution of key concerns and considerations regarding sheep ID was approved by the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) board of directors at the ASI annual meeting in January 2004. In March, Montana Wool Growers Association President Bob Lehfeldt testified on the matter before the U.S. Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Marketing, Inspection and Product Promotion. That same month Chico Denis of Texas testified on the issue before the U.S. House of Representatives Agriculture Committee.