AGRICULTURE SECRETARY VILSACK HOLDS LISTENING SESSION IN FORT COLLINS ON NATIONAL ANIMAL IDENTIFICATION SYSTEM
FORT COLLINS, CO, May 11, 2009 – Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack today held a roundtable discussion with a variety of stakeholders on the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). This was the second in a series of listening sessions the USDA will hold throughout the country on the subject so the department can gather feedback and input that will assist the Secretary in making decisions about the future direction of animal identification and traceability in the United States. On April 15 of this year, more than 30 stakeholder groups met with Secretary Vilsack to discuss NAIS at the USDA's headquarters in Washington, DC.
"Much work has been done over the past five years to engage producers in developing an animal identification system that they could support," said Vilsack. "However, many of the issues and concerns that were initially raised by producers, such as the cost, impact on small farmers, privacy and confidentiality and liability, continue to cause debate. In the spirit of President Obama's call for transparency in government, now is the time to have frank and open conversations about NAIS. We need to work collaboratively to resolve concerns and move forward with animal traceability."
USDA is engaging stakeholders in an effort to hear not only their concerns but potential or feasible solutions to those concerns. The listening tour will seek input from communities throughout the country.
"I recognize many groups have provided input into the system previously and I encourage stakeholders--both small and large--to embrace this opportunity to tell us what kind of system they feel would work and to talk about solutions," added Vilsack.
In 2004, APHIS began implementing NAIS, an animal traceability system that would enable producers and animal health officials to respond quickly and effectively to animal disease events in the United States.