August 15, 2004
August, 2004 -The U.S. Department of Agriculture is holding a series of listening sessions across the country to discuss the development, structure and implementation of a national animal identification program for all poultry and livestock animals.
At press time sessions were slated for Greeley, Colo. on Aug. 10; Billings, Mont., Aug. 13; Florida Cattlemen's Association state office, Kissimmee, Fla., Aug. 16; Columbus, Ohio, Aug. 18; Ames, Iowa, Aug. 26; Joplin, Mo., Aug. 27; Appleton, Wis., Aug. 30; and St. Cloud, Minn., Aug. 31.
USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has received more than $18 million to begin implementing the national system that will quickly and efficiently traceback diseased or potentially diseased animals. A premise identification system, which will allow for the beginning of pilot programs to test identification systems, will be completed this summer.
A sheep working group has presented to USDA its recommendations for implementing a national identification plan for sheep as well as the types of devices to be used.
"It will be important for the state associates to be available to represent the sheep industry at the various listening sessions across the country," says American Sheep Industry Association President Guy Flora.
Listening sessions have already been held in Athens, Ga.; Prineville, Ore.; Stockton, Calif., and Socorro, N.M. Additional details are available at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/lpa/issues/nais/nais.html on the USDA Web site.