Posts Tagged Destroy Small Farms

The Money behind the National Animal ID System

Follow The Money

There are around 2.5 Billion Farm Animals that the USDA wants to track under the proposed National Animal Identification System. If and when this tracking system is put into place, it will mean two things:

1. A small number of private interests will make out big financially by supplying hundreds of millions of dollars worth of tracking devices and software to livestock producers.

2. Small producers, unable to cope with the costly technology demands associated with animal tracking, could be forced to give up their farms and ranches — allowing major players like Cargill, Smithfield and Tyson to exercise an even greater control of meat production.1,2

For the time being, the animal tracking program is voluntary, though the USDA has invested more than $125 million in the last five years3 trying to create the support and infrastructure needed to advance a mandatory NAIS for livestock. In particular, tracking cattle is a high priority for the agency because it is seen as a way to restore international confidence in American beef after the discovery of mad cow disease devastated the industry in 2003. Much of this money has gone toward registering farm premises where livestock are found throughout the United States into a central database, the first step in creating a national animal-tracking program.

In order to advance the NAIS agenda, the USDA agreed in 2005 to begin privatizing parts of the system,4 creating another incentive for powerful industry trade groups to support the program. By providing the hardware, software and tracking technology, private industry groups and technology companies have already been able to extract millions of dollars from the proposed NAIS.

NAIS is the product of more than a decade of planning — mostly by the private sector — but only really gained momentum as an animal health measure seven years ago in response to the discovery of mad cow disease in the United States. NAIS continues to be as much the product of private industry and the non-profit trade groups that represent it as it is the USDA. Like wolves in sheep’s clothing, these trade organizations loudly promote an animal-tracking system as necessary for the meat industry while positioning themselves or their industry partners to possibly reap the windfall revenues that a mandatory animal-tracking program would generate.

The Costs

In April 2009, the USDA released a cost-benefit analysis of NAIS which estimates that a full-traceability animaltracking system will cost the livestock industry alone $209 million annually.5 The most costly part of NAIS involves Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), which could cost about $100 million for cattle alone.6 The preferred method of tagging and tracing cattle, RFID uses tiny radio transmitters about the size of a grain of rice that are either implanted into an animal or into an ear tag that the animal wears. In theory, this technology gives livestock producers and slaughterhouses the ability to quickly “scan” each animal and determine where it came from, which could help trace diseases in the event of an outbreak.

RFID technology is extremely costly for ranchers, but extremely lucrative for private technology providers. Currently only nine RFID manufacturers are recognized by the USDA as approved providers of the devices,7 and a handful seem to have emerged as the dominant competitors, vying for the tens of millions of dollars in revenue8 that a mandatory NAIS would generate each year.

These RFID providers will likely generate revenue disproportionately from small livestock producers. USDA estimates show that among livestock producers that don’t currently tag their beef cattle, the smallest producers — those with fewer than 50 head of cattle — would incur the highest RFID costs as a group, amounting to almost $35 million dollars a year.9 This is approximately how much all other beef cattle producers combined would pay.

For small livestock producers working on tight profit margins, these costs could be devastating. Larger producers have deep pockets and the advantage of economies of scale, allowing them to more easily adjust to the technological requirements of NAIS, a point that the USDA readily acknowledges.10 The USDA estimates that the RFID costs per head of cattle are somewhere between 30 and 200 percent greater for the smallest producers than the largest producers under a full-traceability NAIS,11 in part because big producers can buy larger quantities of RFID tags at a discount. Some estimates of the high costs small producers will pay are much higher than the USDA’s,12 with numbers surpassing $40 a head (about five times greater than the USDA estimate) when costs of RFID readers are included.13

The costs that livestock producers could incur under NAIS include: buying an RFID tag for each animal, buying an RFID applicator, paying someone to implant the device, buying an RFID reader, buying a computer and paying monthly internet services, creating the necessary infrastructure on a farm to support animal tracking, and providing the time and labor needed to register individual animals in an Animal Tracking Database — which is also a privatized venture, mostly controlled by a small number of corporations and private interests.

Consumers will have to pay The costs and time needed to comply with program requirements would give the largest operations a competitive advantage. This further promotes an unhealthy control of the meat market among a handful of corporations. Ironically, large-scale operators use confinement methods and feeding practices that are viewed by many as increasing the risk of animal diseases that NAIS would track.

The Players

Consider the Kansas Farm Bureau, a non-profit group that, according to its Web site, “represents grassroots agriculture” and “supports farm families who earn their living in a changing industry.”14

In carrying out these missions, the bureau has also managed to position itself to be a major beneficiary of the tech-fest that would unfold under mandatory NAIS. The Kansas Farm Bureau aggressively promotes its Beef Verification Solution, an animal-tracking program developed though its Agriculture Solutions division, in conjunction with AgInfoLink,15 a private tech company16 that could be one of the leading beneficiaries of a mandatory NAIS. The Beef Verification Solution, according to the Web site, is the “one-stop shop for ISO compliant, USDA approved radio frequency identification (RFID) ear tags, RFID readers and data collection software.”17

Essentially, by contracting with private tech companies like AgInfoLink and using its members as its customer base, the Kansas Farm Bureau could generate large revenues for both itself and its private-sector partners.

And measured by the support it has received so far, the Kansas Farm Bureau seems to have done pretty well for itself. The Beef Verification Solution has received the endorsement of numerous trade groups and fellow farm bureaus in big cattle-producing states like Colorado,18 Oklahoma19 and Nebraska.20 The American Farm Bureau, the parent organization to all the state affiliates,21 has endorsed the program, too.22 By 2007, the Kansas Farm Bureau was boasting that the Beef Verification Solution was primed to capitalize on 24 percent of the cattle market.23

In marketing the Beef Verification Solution, the Kansas Farm Bureau and its partners encourage cattle producers to use other services provided by AgInfoLink,24 one of six companies offering an animal-tracking database that the USDA considers fully functioning and capable of providing traceability.25 In addition to promoting AgInfoLink’s CattleCards and BeefLink software,26 the Kansas Farm Bureau apparently also promotes business for the providers of RFID hardware, including the company Allflex.27

Illinois Beef Association (IBA)

In addition to its partnerships with the farm bureaus, AgInfoLink has also partnered with the Illinois Beef Association (IBA),28 a state-level affiliate of the powerful trade group the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA),29 whose industry partners include corporate meatpackers like Cargill, Smithfield and Tyson.30

From October 2006 to September 2007, during which time the IBA began endorsing AgInfoLink, the organization received $1.2 million from the beef checkoff,31 a government- initiated program that requires every cattle farmer in America to pay one dollar for every slaughtered head of cattle, supposedly to promote beef.32 Most of that money, which amounts to around $45 million a year,33 ends up in the hands of the NCBA34 and its affiliates like the IBA.35 It needs to be examined whether the NCBA is using this money in its efforts to promote an animal identification program, which would stand in contrast to its mission of supporting the interests of ranchers and cattle producers, many of whom may not support animal tracking.

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA)

The NCBA, which collects around $45 million dollars a year in beef checkoff money,36 has worked as a major stakeholder in the development of NAIS, hoping that an animal-tracking program would have been in place by 2007.37 In that year, an NCBA affiliate called the National Cattlemen’s Foundation38 entered into a cooperative agreement with the USDA39 to help register farm premises — part of a push to expand the NAIS database. Shortly before cooperative agreement was announced, the National Cattlemen’s Foundation received more than $2 million from the USDA.40

Back in 2004, the NCBA began working with private technology groups that would benefit financially from NAIS. Called the Beef Information Exchange and apparently comprised of a group of animal-tracking service providers, the group was promoted by one of NCBA’s members, Mark Armentrout, who was also the chief operating officer of AgInfoLink Global, Inc.41

Additionally, the NCBA sits with the American Farm Bureau on the board the United States Animal Identification Organization (USAIO),42,43 which has its own NAIScompliant Animal Tracking Database,44 a potentially big money-maker should NAIS become mandatory.

Most of the big names in animal identification have aligned themselves with NCBA, sometimes making cash donations to the organization. Both Allflex USA and Schering-Plough Animal Health (Schering-Plough owns Global Animal Management), two approved technology providers for NAIS, donated $100,000 to the NCBA to become “Allied Industry Partner” Gold Level Sponsors.45

The Sunset of Family Farming as we know it?

Other technology providers like Destron-Fearing, Y-Tex and AgInfoLink count themselves as allied Industry Council members or associates.46

United States Animal Identification Organization (USAIO)

Established to “oversee a database solution for tracking animals”47 and built with members from some of the most powerful farm groups, the USAIO seems to have an interest in controlling a database for tracking animals — and perhaps benefiting from the huge revenues that would come with it.

Like the National Cattlemen’s Foundation, the USAIO entered into a cooperative agreement with the USDA to register farm premises. Shortly before the agreement was announced, the USDA awarded the USAIO $1.5 million in taxpayer money.48 The group planned to register as many as 100,000 new farm premises under the agreement, the first step toward initiating a fully functional National Animal Identification System.49

The USDA has put $9 million toward these cooperative agreements,50 with non-profit organizations51,52 that frequently have close ties to industry. As one USDA official said about these organizations, “In many cases, these groups don’t just represent industry, they are industry…”53

Big players like Microsoft may also leverage their financial power and political connections if NAIS becomes a mandatory program. In 2006, the USAIO teamed up with Microsoft and a company called Viatrace to offer what they called an “industry-led, multispecies animal tracking database to record movements of livestock from point of origin to processing.”54

One report indicates that USAIO disbanded in 2007,55 but the group’s animal-tracking database remains on the current USDA list of approved providers.

Agri Beef

Agri Beef, a vertically integrated cattle operation56 that regularly ranks as one of the largest in America,57,58 serves as the first point of contact for USAIO’s Animal Tracking Database.59 Though the exact relationship between the USAIO, a non-profit group, and Agri Beef, a for-profit meat producer, is unclear, it seems that their animal-tracking database could generate big money for both the groups.

Piercing pain in the ear!The vice president of Agri Beef is Rick Stott,60 listed as one of a handful of members on the USAIO in 2006.61 He also has served as a member of major industry groups like the NCBA.62 And Stott worked on a governmentsponsored pilot NAIS project in the Pacific Northwest called the Northwest Pilot Project,63 reportedly worth more than a million dollars.64

As the chairman of the project, which was administered by the Idaho Cattlemen Association65 (affiliated with the NCBA66), Stott was able to help shape and test a pilot NAIS program based on the proposed national system, which he, his employer and his industry friends could benefit from enormously.

But also disconcerting is that Stott, as the head of a pilot project, apparently was overseeing the collection and processing of private data of dozens of other cattle producers participating in the program67 — essentially giving him access to proprietary information about his competitors. Big agribusiness groups have pushed the USDA to keep the animal-tracking databases out of government’s hands, claiming that any other arrangement would subject a company’s data to Freedom of Information Act requests or new government regulations.68,69 But keeping the database in the hands of big agribusiness — whether with private companies or the trade industries that represent big agribusiness — could force small livestock producers to disclose confidential information about their operations (size of herd, types of animals, etc.) to competitors or the companies they sell to.

The Money Funnel

The financial windfall that has fallen from government to the private sector with NAIS has been mighty, and there seems to be no end in sight. The federal government has already spent more than $125 million on the development of NAIS,70 funneling money into private industries and state governments to promote the animaltracking program.

Though NAIS is not yet a mandatory program, many technology providers have already benefitted financially in a big way. Global Animal Management71 and Digital Angel72 have both received more than half a million dollars in government contracts for animal tracking devices, while Allflex has raked in close to $1 million.73

It is important to note that these companies spend money in lobbying efforts around NAIS. The owner of Global Animal Management, a large pharmaceutical corporation called Schering-Plough, plowed millions of dollars a year into lobbying efforts in both 2007 and 2008, some of it on animal identification issues.74 Between 2004 and 2007, Digital Angel spent more than a million dollars on lobbying efforts75 and Allflex spent an undisclosed amount (under $10,000)76 in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

More disconcerting, it appears that two of these three competitors have partnered, further reducing competition among RFID providers. In 2008, Digital Angel and Global Animal Management (owned by Schering-Plough) announced a deal in which Digital Angel would acquire the rights to Global Animal Management’s RFID tag77, 78 made by Geissler Technology.79

Digital Angel’s acquisition of a competitor’s RFID-technology could prove to be a wise investment. As part of its 2009 budget, the USDA plans to spend millions of dollars on a campaign directed at the cattle industry called “840 Start Up.”80 The ‘840’ refers to the United States’ three digit country code that precedes animal identification numbers. The number also refers to the RFID devices that can store and transmit the ID numbers. As more and more farm premises are registered in a national database, the next step in NAIS is to outfit all farm animals with these 840 RFID tags.

This is the meat that you will be paying much more for if this dastardly NAIS program goes into effect!!And because RFID devices are sold by privately owned companies, the USDA’s multi-million dollar “840 Start Up” campaign may really serve to funnel millions of dollars into the bank accounts of the few tech companies that have been approved to sell these products.

Whether it is taxpayers or the farmers themselves who would end up paying for the technology under NAIS, it is clear that it will be the tech companies and the trade organizations they align with that will benefit.

Case Study: Wisconsin

One of the best places to follow the money behind NAIS is Wisconsin, where the Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium (WLIC) and its partner group, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection (WDATCP)81 have managed to secure close to $7 million in federal funding and more than a million dollars in non-federal funding over the last eight years.82,83 Bolstered by a state law requiring every farm premises to be registered in a central database, these groups are serving as administrators of what amounts to a state-level pilot project for NAIS.

The WLIC, a consortium of private industry stakeholders and government agencies, has used these federal tax dollars to fund groups that could benefit financially from NAIS. By the middle of 2005, WLIC reportedly was funding more than a dozen research projects valued at close to $400,000, with money going to the Wisconsin Pork Association,84 which currently sits on the WLIC board of directors, and Smithfield, a current member of WLIC.85

WLIC was founded in 2002 as “a proactive, livestock industry- driven effort”86 with a mission “to create a secure, nationally compatible livestock identification system.”87 The members and affiliates of the consortium read like a laundry list of the corporate and private interests that stand to gain from a mandatory NAIS. The big animal-ID tech companies, like AgInfoLink, Digital Angel, Global Animal Management, Y-Tex and Allflex USA, are all represented as members.88

In coalition with the Wisconsin Department of Trade and Consumer Protection, the WLIC has developed its own USDA-compliant Animal Tracking Database — one of six that the USDA considers fully functional and capable of providing traceability.89

The push for animal tracking in Wisconsin, however, has not gone smoothly. Some farmers continue to resist registering their premises or participating in animal identification — either because of privacy or property rights concerns, or, in the case of Amish farmers, on religious grounds.90 In 2007, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture began sending letters to dairy farmers on unregistered premises indicating their milk production licenses could be revoked if they failed to register their farms.91 This threat, which would have essentially forced non-compliant dairy farmers to go out of business, was eventually softened,92 but to critics of NAIS, it demonstrates the heavy-handed tactics that government agencies are willing to use to promote the program.

Case Study: Michigan

Government approved cows tagged with fascist RFID tags!The state of Michigan has gone a step farther than Wisconsin, issuing a requirement that every head of cattle in the state must now have an RFID tag, essentially creating a state-wide mandatory animal-tracking system.93 Additionally, Michigan is using an animal-tracking system maintained by Holstein Association USA,94 a large nonprofit industry group.

Until late spring 2009, the Michigan Department of Agriculture’s Web site directed farmers needing to purchase the mandatory RFID tags to Holstein Association USA, which sells tags at $2 each,95 plus a $20 fee for the applicator,96 the tool that attaches the ear tag to the cow. (A recent update to the site now includes another tag provider, but the site still emphasizes Holstein Association USA.) In 2007, the state announced that cattle producers had bought more than one million RFID tags.97 That represents at least $2 million in sales, with the proceeds apparently going to Holstein Association USA and the provider of its tags, a company called Allflex.98 In addition to the revenues it may generate from the RFID hardware, Holstein Association USA also serves as the administrator99 of Michigan’s animal-tracking database,100 which could provide another source of revenue. In 2007, Holstein Association USA boasted that its animal-tracking database is one of the world’s largest, with more than 5 million cows registered.101

When the state of Michigan began requiring all livestock owners to register and tag their farm animals and then directing farmers to a single purchasing option for the animal-tracking hardware and software, the state essentially funneled millions of dollars into the Holstein/ Allflex partnership.

(If you diligently scour the Michigan Department of Agriculture’s Web site, you find that you can also order RFID tags from Northstar Cooperative,102 which sells tags from Allflex and one other tech company, Digital Angel.103 The USDA has declared nine different RFID-providers as NAIS-compliant, so it is unclear why the state of Michigan would direct its livestock producers to a single provider.104)

On top of these de facto state subsidies to Holstein Association USA, the federal government has also given the group millions of dollars directly. Holstein Association USA has received more than $3 million in federal funding between 2000 and 2007 to develop animal-tracking programs.105

NAIS Failure

If you take a hard look at the money associated with NAIS, you find that the numbers don’t add up to a net benefit for consumers or livestock producers. The government has invested $125 million so far trying to promote NAIS, a program that will cost producers $200 million a year. These huge sums of money guarantee very little in terms of improved food safety because the tracking ends at slaughterhouses and meatpacking plants where most food safety problems occur. The money the USDA is plowing into NAIS would go far further if it were used instead to bolster existing food safety programs and existing animal health programs that aim to prevent disease.

The costs associated with NAIS threaten to increase the price of meat for consumers and to ruin the businesses of countless small producers, who would bear significantly greater financial pressure relative to larger producers adapting to the technological demands of NAIS. Because NAIS favors large-scale industrialized operations, which have deeper pockets to pay for the necessary technology, and puts financial pressure on small producers, a mandatory NAIS could contribute to a further concentration of the livestock industry among a few corporations.106

Indeed, the only sure outcome of NAIS are the windfall rewards, which tech companies and the trade groups that support them are currently jockeying to catch. The consortiums they form with private technology providers and federal and state governments are too cozy and too lucrative to give the system an appearance of anything but a cash cow for corporate beneficiaries. The tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer money that has already poured into NAIS has done more to enrich a handful of money-minded organizations than to ensure food safety, and it is time that the USDA jettison this program.


Endnotes

1 Duffey, Patrick. “Dismantling of Farmland continues; Smithfield buying pork business.” USDA Rural Development. November 2003.

2 Heffernan, William and Mary Hendrickson. “Concentration of Agricultural Markets.” Department of Rural Sociology, University of Missouri. April 2007. http://nfu.org/issues/economic-policy/ resources/heffernan-report

3 USDA. “A business plan to advance animal disease traceability.” September 2008 at 41.

4 USDA. “A business plan to advance animal disease traceability.” September 2008 at 51.

5 USDA. “Benefit-Cost Analysis of the National Animal Identification System.” January 14, 2009 at Table 4.10.

6 USDA. “Benefit-Cost Analysis of the National Animal Identification System.” January 14, 2009 at Table 4.10.

7 USDA. List of approved NAIS devices. animalid.aphis.usda.gov/ nais/naislibrary/documents/guidelines/NAIS_ID_Tag_Web_ Listing.pdf

8 USDA. “Benefit-Cost Analysis of the National Animal Identification System.” January 14, 2009 at Table 4.10.

9 USDA. “Benefit-Cost Analysis of the National Animal Identification System.” January 14, 2009 at Table 4.2.

10 USDA. See “Benefit-Cost Analysis of the National Animal Identification System.” January 14, 2009 at 24, 29, 48.

11 USDA. “Benefit-Cost Analysis of the National Animal Identification System.” January 14, 2009 at Table 4.2.

12 Blasi, Dale et al. “Estimated Costs of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) Systems.” 2005. http://beefstockerusa.org/rfid/. 2005.

13 Cattlenetwork. “Jolley: Five Minutes With Dr. Dale Blasi, Kansas State University.” May 8, 2009. http://www.cattlenetwork.com/ content.asp?ContentId=313299

14 Kansas Farm Bureau. “About Us.” http://www.kfb.org/aboutus/aboutus.htm

15 Kansas Farm Bureau. “Knowledge IS Power: The Value of Knowing Your Cow Herd From the Inside Out.” December 2008.

16 AgInfoLink “About Us” and “Locations.” http://www.aginfolink.com/aboutus.html and http://www.aginfolink.com/web/locations/ locations.htm

17 Agricultural Solutions. “Beef Verification Solution Program Description.” http://www.agsolusa.com/bvs/Aboutus.htm.

18 Kansas Farm Bureau. “KFB’s Beef Verification Solution Partners With Colorado Farm Bureau.” November 16, 2007.

19 Kansas Farm Bureau. “KFB’s Beef Verification Solution Partners With Oklahoma Farm Bureau.” July 24, 2007.

20 Kansas Farm Bureau. “Beef Verification Solution Partners With Nebraska Farm Bureau.” February 1, 2007 Kansas Farm Bureau. “Increasing the Value of this Year’s Calf Crop.” August 29, 2007.

21 American Farm Bureau. http://www.fb.org/index. php?fuseaction=newsroom.statefbs

22 American Farm Bureau. “Excitement Building for New Animal ID System.” January 8, 2006

23 Kansas Farm Bureau. “Increasing the Value of this Year’s Calf Crop.” August 29, 2007.

24 Kansas Farm Bureau. “Increasing the Value of this Year’s Calf Crop.” August 29, 2007. 25 USDA. National Animal Identification System Compliant Animal Tracking Databases Status Report.

26 Kansas Farm Bureau. “Knowledge IS Power: The Value of Knowing Your Cow Herd From the Inside Out.” December 2008.

27 Kansas Farm Bureau. “KFB’s Beef Verification Solution Now Offers More Radio Frequency ID Tag Choices.” July 3, 2008.

28 AgInfoLink. “AgInfoLink and Illinois Beef Association Team Up on Animal Information Services; Wellman Joins AgInfoLink Staff.” April 17, 2007

29 National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “State Affiliates.” http://www.beefusa.org/affistateaffiliates.aspx

30 National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “Allied Industry Partners.” www.beefusa.org/affialliedindustrypartners.aspx

31 IRS 990 form. 2007 at 8.

32 Cattlemen’s Beef Board. “Financial & Audit.” http://www.beefboard.org/financial/financial_audit.asp

33 Cattlemen’s Beef Board. “Annual Report.” 2008 at 13. http://www.beefboard.org/library/annual-reports.asp

34 Cattlemen’s Beef Board. “Annual Report. 2008 at 14. http://www.beefboard.org/library/annual-reports.asp

35 National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. http://www.beefusa.org/affistateaffiliates.aspx

36 Cattlemen’s Beef Board. Annual Report. 2008 at 14. http://www.beefboard.org/library/annual-reports.asp

37 Cattlemen’s Beef Board. Long-Range Plan 2010. 2006. http://www.beefboard.org/library/annual-reports.asp

38 990 IRS Form. 2007.

39 USDA. “National Cattlemens Foundation Partners With USDA To Register Premises As Part of the National Animal Identification System.” November 30, 2007.

40 Information found at www.usaspending.gov.

41 National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. 2004 Beef Business Bulletin Stories Archive. “Industry Seeks Private Sector Animal ID System.” 2004.

42 National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “USAIO Statement on USDA’s National Animal Identification System Implementation Plan.” April 6, 2006.

43 Nebraska Cattlemen Newsline. “Independent Consortium Formed To Manage National Animal ID Database.” January 18, 2006.

44 USDA. National Animal Identification System Compliant Animal Tracking Databases Status Report.

45 Information Available online at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Web site (www.beefusa.org), under “Allied Industry Partners.”

46 Information Available online at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Web site (www.beefusa.org), under “Allied Industry Partners.”

47 American Farm Bureau Federation. “Shawcroft Selected to Animal ID Organization.” March 31, 2006.

48 Found at USAspending.gov. The USDA has only ever awarded the USAIO one cooperative agreement, which was worth $1.5 million and which happened in close proximity to the USDA announcement of its NAIS agreement the USAIO.

49 USDA. “U.S. Animal Identification Organization Promotes National Animal Identification System.” July 17, 2007.

50 USDA. “A Business Plan to Advance Animal Disease Traceability.” September 2008 at 44.

51 USDA. “USDA Announces Plans to Expand National Animal Identification System Cooperative Agreements to Nonprofit Organizations.” Feb. 2, 2007

52 USDA. “A Plan to Advance Animal Disease Traceability.” At 36.

53 Email from Ed Curlett to “Community Outreach Partners.” January 16, 2007.

54 Microsoft. “High-Tech Animal Database Launched to Help Ensure U.S. Livestock Producers Maintain Competitive Edge in the Global Marketplace.” March 1, 2006

55 Northwest Pilot Project. “Final Report: Addendum.” June 2007 at 15.

56 Agri Beef. “Agri Beef Co. Partners with Loomis Cattle Company to Develop the Finest Beef in the Northwest.”

57 Peck, Clint. “Northwest Entrepreneur.” Beef Magazine. Jan 1, 2002.

58 Northwest Farm Credit Services. “Industry Perspective, Feedlot.” 2007.

59 USDA. National Animal Identification System Compliant Animal Tracking Databases Status Report.

60 Agri Beef Company. Information found at http://www.Agri Beef.com/Agri Beefco/contact.asp

61 National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “USAIO Statement on USDA’s National Animal Identification System Implementation Plan.” April 6, 2006.

62 NCBA. “National ID Program for Livestock on Track, Cattlemen Say.” September 28, 2005.

63 Northwest Pilot Project. “Final Report.” 2006 at 34. http://www. northwestpilot.org

64 Evans, Tony. “A Beeper for Every Cow.” Boise Weekly. June 21, 2006.

65 Ibid.

66 Idaho Cattle Association. “About ICA.” http://www.idahocattle. org/about.dsp

67 Northwest Pilot Project. “Final Report.” http://www.northwestpilot. org

68 American Farm Bureau. “Stallman says NAIS requires producer involvement.” September 28, 2005.

Farm families like this will be driven out of existance.

69 Oklahoma Farm Report. “NCBA Continues to Worry About Mandatory Animal ID.” May 8, 2009.

70 USDA. “A business plan to advance animal disease traceability.” September 2008 at 41.

71 Information found at http://www.usaspending.gov

72 Information found at http://www.usaspending.gov

73 Information found at http://www.usaspending.gov

74 Information found at http://www.opensecrets.org

75 Information found at http://www.opensecrets.org

76 Information found at http://www.opensecrets.org

77 Digital Angel. “Digital Angel’s Recent Acquisition of Geissler Technologies Expands Company’s Commercial Relationship with Schering-Plough.” January 18, 2008

78 Global Animal Management. “Program Compliant Tags.” October 14, 2008. https://www.mygamonline.com/trimerit/images/ approvedtaglist.pdf

79 USDA. “National Animal Identification System: Official Animal Identification Number (AIN) Devices.” December 10, 2008.

80 USDA. “A Business Plan to Advance Animal Disease Traceability.” September 2008 at 47.

81 Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection. www.datcp.state.wi.us/premises/index.jsp

82 Data for the Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium found at www.usaspending.gov and www.fedspending.org

83 Data for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture found at www. usaspending.gov and www.fedspending.org

84 National Hog Farmer. Wisconsin Funds ID Projects National Hog Farmer. June 15, 2005

85 “Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium (WLIC) Board, Members, Ex Officio and Staff.” http://www.wiid.org.

86 Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium (WLIC). “WLIC History.” http://www.wiid.org.

87 Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium (WLIC). “WLIC Philosophy.” http://www.wiid.org.

88 “Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium (WLIC) Board, Members, Ex Officio and Staff.” http://www.wiid.org.

89 USDA. “National Animal Identification System Compliant Animal Tracking Databases Status Report.” March 19, 2009.

90 Jones, Tim. “Using modern laws to keep Amish ways.” Chicago Tribune. September 20, 2008.

91 Leaf, Nathan. “Livestock Registration Law Opposed.” Wisconsin State Journal. April 25, 2007.

92 Hundt, Tim. “Premises ID Enforcement Put on Hold.” Vernon County Broadcaster. May 2, 2007.

93 Michigan Department of Agriculture. “Questions and Answers for Mandatory Cattle Identification Program.” http://www.michigan. gov/mda/0,1607,7-125–137059–,00.html

94 Michigan Department of Agriculture. “Electronic Identification Program.” http://www.michigan.gov/mda/0,1607,7-125-48096_ 48149-86002–,00.html

95 Michigan Department of Agriculture. “Order Bovine Tags.” http://www.michigan.gov/mda/0,1607,7-125-48096_48149-172 599–,00.html

96 Personal communication with Holstein Association USA sales associate.

97 State of Michigan. “One Million Electronic ID tags purchased by Michigan Beef and Dairy Producers.” November 8, 2007. Found at http://www.michigan.gov

98 Holstein Association USA. http://www.holsteinusa.com/animal_ id/tag_id.html

99 USDA. Food Safety Research Information Office. “Animal Identification Pilot Project.” Available online at: fsrio.nal.usda.gov/ research/fsheets/fsheet12.pdf

100 Michigan Department of Agriculture. “Electronic Identification Program.” http://www.michigan.gov/mda/0,1607,7-125-48096_ 48149-86002–,00.html

101 Holstein Association USA. “Holstein Association USA Approved by USDA as a Compliant Animal Tracking Database.” October 18, 2007

102 Michigan Department of Agriculture. “Questions and Answers for Mandatory Cattle Identification Program.” http://www.michigan. gov/mda/0,1607,7-125–137059–,00.html

103 Northstar Cooperative. http://www.northstarcooperative.com/ dhia/ProductsAndServices/spryRFID.html

www.Foodandwaterwatch.org104 Several places on the Web site such as “Order Bovine Eartags” direct you to Holstein USA, although in late spring 2009 some portions of the website did add Northstar Cooperative to the page. However, if you download a PDF entitled “Mandatory Cattle Identification Program Q & A,” the question-and-answer number-23 informs you that you can also order RFID tags from Northstar Cooperative.

105 Information found at http://www.usaspending.gov

106 Heffernan, William and Mary Hendrickson. “Concentration of Agricultural Markets.” Department of Rural Sociology, University of Missouri. April 2007. http://nfu.org/issues/economic-policy/ resources/heffernan-report

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Wisconsin Steps up funding for NAIS/Premises ID

ppjg-48

Marti Oakley

Copyright 2009  All rights reserved.

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Senator Kohl of Wisconsin who had a direct hand in setting up the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the USDA to force the Wisconsin farmers and ranchers into the NAIS/Premises ID and who also, along with Rep. Obey facilitated the cooperative funding agreement [bribery payment] cementing that contract with the USDA, just announced that $1,550,000 has been allotted to WLIC.  This was the consortium set up after NAIS/Premises ID was shoved through the Wisconsin legislature and promoted as a strictly “voluntary” program.

Recent developments lauded by many in agricultural circles as the “end of NAIS’ as a result of funding being withheld or denied on the federal level, apparently weren’t aware that the USDA through its for-profit activities as a sub-corporation of the federal corporate government, has nearly limitless sources of funds that can be used for any thing they deem appropriate.  With the agricultural industrial complex willing to supply any and all funds necessary to overthrow traditional farming and ranching in favor of industrialized operations, USDA has no shortage of funds that can be paid to bankrupted states in desperate needs of funds to continue operating.  So what if  traditional farmers are driven off their lands and forced to forfeit everything they have worked for so long as corporations can make a profit and states can pad their coffers with bribe money.

AgriView

Kohl Secures Funding for Wisconsin Projects in 2009 Agriculture Spending Bill

From article on Agri-view comes this excerpt:

“-$1,550,000 for the Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium – The Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium, though the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, leads the nation in developing a workable approach for premise registration, a critical element of livestock identification and tracking.  These resources will allow that work to continue.”

Apparently NAIS/Premises ID forced compliance is in full swing in Wisconsin and Senator Kohl appears to be quite proud of the fact that Wisconsin, one of three test states first bribed by the USDA to bypass Constitutional rights and protections not only on the federal level, but also in gross violation of the Wisconsin Constitution itself prides himself and his state on leading the nation in developing a “workable” approach to Premises ID and NAIS, both key components of Codex Alimentarius.

I can only presume that “workable approach” must mean the prosecution of those farmers and ranchers who have steadfastly refused to comply with this [voluntary] program and the subsequent persecution of an Amish farmer who objected on religious grounds, now forced to defend himself and his religious beliefs in court against a government machine that exists to end all but industrialized harmonization agreements and illegal and unconstitutional trade agreements.

The recent and first round of court proceedings against the Amish forced Wisconsin officials to admit neither NAIS nor Premises ID had done, or would do anything to increase the safety of the food supply.  With this admission, answers should be demanded as to why they entered into such an agreement, took the bribe money and persist in prosecuting those who refuse to convey ownership of their property to USDA acting as agent for the federal government.

Of course, Senator Kohl along with Representative Obey were instrumental in storing the data mined information on the gps location of all agricultural properties and owners, along with any other information they had mined, in the Oracle database, and moving that database off US soil into storage in Canada to make it unavailable to FOIA requests.  This move was made until a provision could be slipped not only into the 2005, but also 2008 Farm Bills making any such requests for information unobtainable by the very people logged into that database; with or without their knowledge.

No where in the Constitution of the state of Wisconsin, nor in the federal Constitution does the government have any right, other than power it has granted itself under fictions of law, to implement or otherwise force compliance to these programs.  Even the illegally ceded authority granted to unelected bureaucracies can not hold up to constitutional challenges.

At what point will Wisconsin property holders demand the right to be left alone by government?  At what point will they move to impeach from office these same public officials who have violated the public trust; assaulted their property rights and have conspired with the industrialized corporate complex to defraud them of their right to life, liberty and their right to own property free of government interference?

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NAIS Enforcement Commences against Amish Farmer

R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America

“Fighting for the U.S. Cattle Producer”

For Immediate Release
Contact: Shae Dodson-Chambers, Communications Coordinator

October 14, 2009

Phone: 406-672-8969; e-mail: sdodson@r-calfusa.com

Op-Ed by R-CALF USA Animal ID Committee Chair Kenny Fox**
It Appears NAIS Enforcement Gets Underway in Wisconsin

Billings, Mont. — It appears that in the state of Wisconsin, which has mandated the first prong of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) National Animal Identification System (NAIS) through agency rule making, prosecution of individuals opposed to NAIS has begun.

On Sept. 23, 2009, an Amish gentleman named Emanuel J. Miller, Jr., was taken to Clark County Court in Neillsville, Wis., for an evidentiary hearing on complex civil forfeiture for failing to register his premises. The case immediately moved to the first stage of trial. Miller and his father, as well as their church deacon, testified as to their objections to being forced to use the NAIS premises identification number (PIN). As USDA has proudly proclaimed in many glossy brochures, premises registration is the “first step” in the NAIS, and the Wisconsin Amish have become quite aware of this.

On Oct. 21, 2009, in Polk County, Wis., R-CALF USA Members Pat and Melissa Monchilovich are going to trial for the same charges of complex civil forfeiture. Pat and his wife raise cattle in Cumberland, Wis., and have failed to register their property as a premises with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture and Consumer Protection, as Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) requires by regulation.

This is the tip of the NAIS iceberg. One could look upon Wisconsin as the sentinel case in the enforcement measures necessary to bring this nation’s citizens into compliance with NAIS.

Although the statute that enables Wisconsin’s DATCP to require premises registration does indeed allow for exemptions, when DATCP wrote the regulations, it decided to disallow any exemptions. This is a major issue, particularly with the Amish community (and others) who hold religious objections to the NAIS.

At the Miller hearing, the Amish said that although they cannot state with absolute certainty that the NAIS’ premises identification number is the precursor to the “Mark of the Beast,” they do know it is the first step of NAIS that leads to the individual numbering and tracking of animals. The Amish said they believe caution is in order to avoid discovering later that they had violated their beliefs and then have no recourse to remedy that error. Their religious objections to obtaining an NAIS PIN are real and personal.

Despite a desire on the part of proponents of NAIS to negate religious objections to NAIS, the fact that it is a global program is indisputable, as enforcement measures and final details are left up to member nations of the World Trade Organization (WTO). In Australia*, rancher Stephen Blair was fined a total of $17,300 for using the wrong tags on 177 of his cattle. Notably, the components of Australia’s National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) are the same as those in NAIS.

In March 2007*, another case in which the identification of cattle was in violation of the identification mandate to facilitate global trade happened the United Kingdom (UK). Dairy farmer David Dobbin had an unspecified number of cattle whose tags didn’t match their “passports.” The European Union (EU) regulations allowed the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), to confiscate both his cattle and his passports and to require that he positively identify the herd within 48 hours or face the loss of his cattle. It is a complete impossibility to positively identify animals with neither the animals nor their paperwork, but that was DEFRA’s requirement. The case was put off for one month and then appealed on the basis that DEFRA could ! not afford to keep feeding Dobbin’s cattle, so the animals were destroyed. Mr. Dobbin lost 567 cattle and was paid no indemnity at all.

At issue in the Wisconsin cases is that we are witnessing the first enforcement actions in the implementation of NAIS. The fines in the charges brought against Miller and the Monchilovichs are between $200 and $5,000. Premises identification is just the first step of NAIS, second is the identification of one’s animals, and third is the tracking of each and every movement of one’s animals. The final component is enforcement, which is now coming to bear in Wisconsin.

More than 90 percent of those who attended USDA’s recent “listening” sessions on NAIS said “No NAIS. Not Now, Not Ever!” If we mean that, then we must stand in support of these Wisconsin people being charged with NAIS violations.

* Background: 1) Miller trial, http://ppjg.wordpress.com/2009/09/27/the-lost-people-part-ii/; 2) Stephen Blair, Australia, http://nqr.farmonline.com.au/news/nationalrural/livestock/cattle/cattle-producer-ordered-to-pay-17300-for-nlis-tag-breach/798558.aspx%20); and, 3) Dobbin/UK, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1545862/Christopher-Bookers-notebook.html.

** Contact R-CALF USA Communications Coordinator Shae Dodson-Chambers to request photo and/or bio information on R-CALF USA Animal Health Committee Chair Kenny Fox. Op-Ed is 720 words.

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NAIS Non-Compliance Trial Update

NAIS Non-Compliance Trial Update
Please Broadcast

Emmanuel Miller, Jr., of Wisconsin, is the first American to have been tried for NAIS non-compliance, on Wednesday September 23.  Wisconsin requires NAIS “premises” registration and many farmers, including Emmanuel Miller, Jr., have refused to comply. Pat Monchilovich, another who refused, goes to trial in October.

This is an enormous historic event, and a pivotal moment in the anti-NAIS movement.  Read Paul Griepentrog’s first hand report on the trial:
http://ppjg.wordpress.com/2009/09/27/the-lost-people-part-ii/

Further Information:
Paul Griepentrog Phone: 715.762.1875  Email: skfarms@centurytel.net

Paul Griepentrog, Wisconsin farmer and Vice-President of Wisconsin Independent Consumers and Farmers Association (www.WICFA.org), filed an amicus brief on Miller’s behalf and attended the trial.

We will continue to post updates.

Yours for freedom,
Deborah Stockton, Executive Director
National Independent Consumers and Farmers Association (NICFA)
nicfa@earthlink.net
www.NICFA.org

National Independent Consumers and Farmers Association
Our purpose is to promote and preserve unregulated direct farmer-to-consumer trade
that fosters availability of locally grown or home-produced food products..
NICFA opposes any government funded or managed National Animal Identification System.

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Super Human Radio: Stoping HR 2749 the Fake Food Safety Bill.

As you may know the US government is trying to pass a law, HR2749, which is about imposing totalitarian control on the food supply (such as mandating GMO-food) and restricting anything natural or healthy, such as access to supplements or even any natural food. Our health and very lives and the lives of our children depend on this being stopped. This is not an exaggeration. Our food supply will be placed in the hands of large factory farms and conglomerates like Monsanto who’s only objective is profits.

This is nothing short of a full out assault on independent and family owned agricultural producers to end competition to corporate producers. Within the verbiage is language that would once and for all codify Codex Alimentarius into U.S. law. This will restrict access to all supplements currently available over-the-counter. In Europe, CODEX has restricted the availability of such OTC products as Glucosamine and Selenium and now people are required to obtain a prescription to obtain these supplements. In fact, Vitamin C will no longer be available in anything larger than a 60 Mg tablet under CODEX!!
If you would like to take an in-depth look at what HR2749 will do to our food supply while handing it over to companies like Monsanto, read this entry in the Food Freedom Newsletter “Why HR2749 Is No Good For Us“.
Every American needs to know about this, and how they can help create real change. Email your friends, family, coworkers… everyone. Tell them their ’s and the health and lives of their children are at stake.
I have established a simple and effective way to let your opinion be known. Emails and snail mail don’t work because emails can be deleted and snail mail is shredded. BUT a fax must be read, cataloged, filed and saved FOR YEARS! I have set up a way for you to fax your State Representative or Senator in sixty seconds or less. Everything you need is on one page. You can locate your Representative and his or her fax number. I have had political activist Marti Oakley write a form letter so you can simply copy it and add your personal information. AND YOU CAN FAX THE MESSAGE RIGHT FROM MY SITE FOR FREE!
Please take action NOW. Take one minute out of your day and go to http://www.superhumanradio.com/core/2749.htm and send a fax to your State Representatives and Senators telling them that you do not want HR2749 to be voted in as Law. And copy and paste this email and pass it to everyone you know. We must act now before our God given rights to healthy natural food and supplements are sold to the large corporate monsters who put their profits far above our health and longevity.
Live Stronger, Live Longer,.
Carl Lanore
Super Human Radio
Follow Me On Twitter http://www.twitter.com/triceptor

Super Human Radio, 2528 Glen Eagle Dr, Louisville, KY 40222, USA

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NAIS Will Render Average-Sized Producers Uncompetitive, Will Lead to More Concentration, Vertical Integration

Billings, Mont. – As promised, R-CALF USA has launched a 12-day blitz of news releases to explain in detail many of the reasons our members oppose the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) National Animal Identification System (NAIS).

With this effort, R-CALF USA hopes to bring to light many of the dangerous aspects associated with NAIS with regard to invasion-of-privacy issues, the likely acceleration of the ongoing exodus of U.S. cattle producers from the industry, as well as other concerns we believe USDA has not even begun to ponder. Click here to view the entire 13-pages of formal comments R-CALF USA submitted to the agency on Aug. 3, 2009, to, yet again, oppose the implementation of NAIS.

In the third installment of our NAIS Opposition Blitz, we explore how NAIS will render average-sized and mid-sized cattle producers uncompetitive vis-à-vis large-scale producers and will accelerate the ongoing exodus of U.S. cattle producers, leading to more concentration and vertical integration:

* Two Kansas State University cost studies show that costs associated with NAIS are substantially lower for large-scale operations when compared to small- and mid-sized operations. For example, a spreadsheet published by KSU shows that costs of electronic identification for a herd size of 100 head (at a cost per head of $15.90) are $9.76 less when the herd size increases to 400 head.[1] Another KSU study also shows that costs per animal become substantially lower as operation size becomes larger – the average-sized U.S. cattle operation (with fewer than 50 head[2]) would experience costs that are $2.12 higher per animal than would a producer with more than 50 head but fewer than 100 head.[3] Thus, the studies clearly show that NAIS would competitively disadvantage small- to mid-sized producers when compared to larger producers. This cost disparity will accelerate the ongoing concentration and vertical integration of the U.S. cattle industry.

NAIS cost studies fail to include costs of upgrading facilities in order to accommodate scanner reading protocols. Many cattle operations use only minimal cattle-handling equipment (for example: horses, trailers, portable panels and portable chutes) to move cattle long distances and this equipment is not suitable for affixing eartags or ensuring accurate scanner readings. As a result, more elaborate and costly facilities would be required to meet NAIS standards and these upgrades would further create economic burdens on U.S. cattle producers.

The cost/benefit analysis completed by Kansas State University (KSU) is fundamentally flawed: 1) There are approx. 95 million cattle in the U.S. cattle herd. The KSU study found that the average eartag price was $2.25. Thus, the study’s conclusion that the total cost of NAIS would be $209 million would not even cover the price of one eartag for each head of cattle in the U.S. herd, let alone labor, equipment, and reading costs that would apply to each animal. 2) From 2000 through 2003, the U.S. slaughtered approx. 36 million head of fed cattle and cows and bulls each year.[4] Using the study’s average NAIS cost per animal of $5.97 per head, the study’s conclusion that the total cost of NAIS would be only $209 million per year would not even cover the cost of identifying each animal actually slaughtered during each of the four years in the middle of our current liquidation phase of the U.S. cattle cycle, which cost would be $219 million. Thus, the study erroneously assumes our U.S. cattle cycle is nonexistent and our herd size is static.

# # #

R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America) is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle industry. R-CALF USA represents thousands of U.S. cattle producers on trade and marketing issues. Members are located across 47 states and are primarily cow/calf operators, cattle backgrounders, and/or feedlot owners. R-CALF USA directors and committee chairs are extremely active unpaid volunteers. R-CALF USA has dozens of affiliate organizations and various main-street businesses are associate members. For more information, visit www.r-calfusa.com or, call 406-252-2516.



[1] See RFID Cost.xls – A Spreadsheet to Estimate the Economic Cost of a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) System, Version 7.6.06, available at www.agmanager.info/livestock/budgets/production/beef/RFID%20costs.xls.

[2] The average-sized U.S. cattle operation is 44 head, calculated by dividing the number of U.S. cows and heifers that have calved in 2008 (41,692,000) by the number of U.S. operations with cattle and calves in 2008 (956,500).

[3] See Table 2. Summary of RFID Costs for Beef Cow/Calf Operations by Size of Operation, Overview Report of the Benefit-Cost Analysis of the National Animal Identification System, USDA APHIS, April 2009, at 18.

[4] See Livestock Slaughter Annual Summary for years 2001-2003, USDA NASS, available at http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/MannUsda/viewDocumentInfo.do?documentID=1097.

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The Jackasses did it……

HR 2749 the Seizure of the US food supply and production passed the House

hungryman_dees

This is an original article: posted July 31, 2009

By Marti Oakley http://ppjg.wordpress.com

Despite some really eloquent speeches to the contrary, our “for sale” House of Representatives passed the Food Fascism Act….euphemistically called a food safety act, by a margin of about 140 over the naysayer’s.

True to form, Rosa DeLauro spoke about things she knows nothing about and couldn’t care less; Rosa just loves her some Monsanto!

And that exclusion for farms??? Gone! And that includes you organic idiots who thought you had kissed enough behinds to have your industry excluded.

The newly revised bill that appeared overnight after the original was defeated 29th of July, now includes all those farms we were told would not be affected by this legislation. Of course those big agri-corporations made out like bandits. Biopiracy is going to have a profitable future thanks to the political whore’s in congress we call our representatives.

The entire HR 2749 bill was completely wiped and replaced with an amendment that was the text of another bill similar to, but far more lethal than the first. Now, please tell me again that backroom deals and pre-planned votes don’t happen in congress. To make it look bi-partisan, some Democrats voted no, and some Republicans voted yes. This was to make you think they had actually debated and considered what they all intended to do anyway.

The bill that passed does only two things……..it seizes control of food production and supply and then hands it over to big agri-corporations. The remaining content of the bill is a primer on enforcement……meaning all the powers they have granted themselves to prevent you from claiming Constitutional protections, and enabling them to violate your rights on multiple levels…..all for food safety of course.

There is NOTHING in this bill that will address, prevent or otherwise affect the safety of food. This was federal encroachment which will be extended to the states with the cooperation of state officials. This bill did nothing but establish a police agency, granting it massive and uncontrolled enforcement capabilities allowing it to make up even more rules to benefit its corporate sponsors, as it moves along.

Oh! And did I mention this will be done by expanding the FDA? The FDA for god’s sake!

A November 2007 report titled “Subcommittee on Science and Technology, FDA Science and Mission at Risk” doc was a scathing review of the not only the inadequacies of FDA, but the fact that it in no way can assure the safety of food in the United States.

That report cited the massive failure of FDA to perform even its basic functions, going on to declare the agency’s problems were the result of corporate influence and funding. It should have been declared defunct right then and there, but of course the lobbyists who stalk the hallways of congress on behalf bio-pirates and other parasitic corporations just wouldn’t hear of such a thing.

I can only assume the report on the massive failure of FDA to operate on even a cursory level ended up in the restrooms to wipe the behinds of all those royal asses who hold down seats in the House and who voted today to end competition for industrialized corporate producers while wiping out family and independent operations.

And it wasn’t just the House that sold us out. In the last few months various organic associations and other assorted producers came out with what they described as “myths on the net” about the intention of these bills. Why…..these bills were not going to apply to family and independent farms and ranches and surely not to organic growers. That was just internet hysteria! I wonder who was hysterical last evening as this bill passed specifically bringing them under the expanded FDA authority?

And drinks all around!

I have no doubt that dinner and drinks were being supplied last evening by corporate lobbyists as a way to thank House members for passing this seizure of the US food production and supply. FDA was probably pouring the champagne.

I wonder if anyone thought to invite those organic groups?

Maybe they could give everyone a big dose of Vioxx when they arrive, spike it with a Gardasil shot and then wash it all down with a big giant super sized diet soda loaded with that yummy aspartame. This should all be followed by a meal consisting of gmo infected fruits and veggies with a big slab of genetically altered meat just oozing antibiotics, growth hormones and the residues from chemicals of all kinds, shipped in from a country who gave their word they “inspected” the food before shipping it.

After all, thanks to Henry Waxman and his cohorts in Constitutional Crime, that’s what is going to end up on our plates.

(C) 2009 Marti Oakley

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NAIS ~~ details from the Rancher’s side.

Note: Platt Land and Cattle is a large, family owned/operated cow-calf ranch with
owned and leased ranches in Arizona and New Mexico.
We oppose NAIS in total ~~~ by Jay Platt.


NAIS is simply an unworkable and highly intrusive bureaucratic boondoggle; it is a regulatory proposal for which a need has never been demonstrated and, more importantly, for which USDA has never provided specific citations of statutory and constitutional authority authorizing such action. NAIS should therefore be terminated in total.

More specific comments are as follows:

New Mexico Ranch1. No need for NAIS has ever been demonstrated.

USDA has failed to demonstrate a need for “48-hour trace back.” It has similarly failed to identify what diseases require the imposition on producers of such a costly, onerous, and intrusive program.

Producers, by their failure to register premises and their overwhelming opposition at the listening sessions, have sent a clear message: there is no need for NAIS. These producers have trillions of dollars at stake in livestock, land, equipment and water rights. Their very lives are bound up in that investment. Many have fine educations with degrees in veterinary science, law, and business.

We are left, however, with the preposterous proposition that government, academia, a few veterinarians, and tag/tech manufacturers with no corresponding stake in livestock, land, equipment and water rights know what is best for producers’ livestock herds.

The concept of “48-hour trace back” is from OIE’s Terrestrial Animal Health Code, Article 4.2.2, Performance Criteria, which suggests, as a measure of effect animal ID, that “all animals can be traced to the establishment of birth within 48 hours of an enquiry.” http://www.oie.int/eng/normes/mcode/en_chapitre_1.4.2.htm

USDA’s use of the word “premises” also comes from the OIE code. The glossary defines “establishment” as used in connection with 48-hour traceback as “the premises in which animals are kept.” http://www.oie.int/eng/normes/mcode/en_glossaire.htm#sous-chapitre-2

The purpose of the OIE Code is one of assuring “the sanitary safety of international trade in terrestrial animals and their products, (emphasis added) http://www.oie.int/eng/normes/en_mcode.htm?e1d10 and in his May 6, 2009, editorial, OIE’s Director General Bernard Vallat proudly proclaims, “One World, One Health. http://www.oie.int/eng/edito/en_lastedito.htm

During the gathering of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners in Vancouver in September, 2007, former USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, Bruce Knight, was queried as to why USDA was making such a push for premises registration. His response: “It is quite simple. We want to be in compliance with OIE regulations by 2010.” http://www.r-calfusa.com/news_releases/2009/090507-nais.htm

In short, USDA has been less than transparent and honest with American cattle producers. It has been pushing an animal ID system to benefit industrialized agriculture–those involved in international trade. There can be absolutely no doubt on this point.

On June 11, 2009, Rosa DeLauro, Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture issued a press release on the committee’s fiscal year 2010 bill which included the following statement :

The bill eliminates funding for the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). After receiving $142 million in funding since fiscal year 2004, APHIS has yet to put into operation an effective system that would provide needed animal health and livestock market benefits. USDA is currently conducting a public listening tour

around the country for several months to hear from stakeholders. Until USDA finishes its listening sessions and provides details as to how it will implement an effective ID system, continued investments into the current NAIS are unwarranted. (Emphasis added.)

At the NAIS listening sessions a welcoming video is shown featuring Secretary Vilsack. He asserts that “we will all agree that we need to protect the livestock markets and the livelihood of producers” and then continues:

I don’t want us to get to the point where Congress says they will not

continue to fund the system. If that were to happen, I would doubt the reliability of our market and that’s not where we want to be.

(Emphasis added.)

Apart from the fact that his nation is a net importer of beef, what markets are demanding NAIS? If indeed there is such a demand, cannot exporters work privately with producers on an export/ID program? USDA never answers such questions. The fact is that “markets” are not concerned about NAIS. They are concerned about exports which contain Canadian product.

The Korean meat export protocols list as ineligible,

  1. Beef and beef products derived from cattle imported from Canada for immediate slaughter .
  2. Beef and beef products derived from cattle imported from Canada that were resident in the U.S. less than 100 days prior to slaughter .

http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Regulations_&_Policies/Republic_of_Korea_Requirements/index.asp

In a June 10, 2003, letter from Toshikazu Ijichi, Japan’s Animal Health Division Director, Dr. Peter Fernandez, Deputy Administrator, Veterinary Services for USDA-APHIS was advised that Japan had “deleted Canada from the list of countries which are eligible to export” beef to Japan “in light of confirmation of a single case of BSE in Canada.”

Dr. Fernandez was further advised that

In order to protect Japan from possible introduction of BSE, I would like to ask you again not to export beef and its product which is derived from the [sic] cattle born, raised or slaughtered in the countries with indigenous BSE cases to Japan through your country. Therefore, I would like to ask you again to indicate the country of origin where the cattle from which the exported meat product to Japan was produced were born, raised and slaughtered . (Emphasis added.)

http://www.r-calfusa.com/Animal_Health/080618Exhibit1-LetterToNewYorkTimes-JapanAnimalHealthLetter.pdf

The notion that export markets are clamoring for the imposition of NAIS is simply not supported by the factual record. Of ironic interest in light of the above letter is USDA’s delay in the implementation–and its frustration of the clear intent–of COOL.

One thing is very clear from the listening sessions: producers, the owners of the animals USDA would ostensibly protect, overwhelmingly reject NAIS and the claimed need therefore. There is a great irony of paternalism–government knows best–vis-Ã -vis the producer rejection of NAIS in the “listening sessions” and their failure to register their “premises.”

USDA never mentions OIE, its Terrestrial Animal Health Code, and the Codex Alimentarius except by implication when it asserts that NAIS is needed to protect “markets,” a euphemism for trade. It has simply been disingenuous at best, as it panders to industrialized agriculture and ignores its statutory obligation to rural agriculture.

Such pandering has come at great cost to rural producers. Examining USDA data for the period from 1984 through 2006, farm/ranch share of income distribution from trade declined by 28% while services’ share doubled and trade/transportation’s share increased nearly 52%!

Using the period 1982 1984 as the base, and adjusting for inflation, the price of slaughter steers/heifers has declined 57% since 1947 while the retail beef price index has increased 3%! Today, the United States is a net importer of beef, some 17% of domestic supply is of foreign origin. USDA has failed those it was established to serve.

Qui bono? NAIS burdens producers with costs and intrusive regulations to benefit industrial agriculture and global trade. There are no benefits for producers in NAIS. Being in the business of accumulating and wielding power, Government is a beneficiary; the tag and technology companies will earn increased profits; meat packers will mine data and industrial agriculture engaged in international trade will likewise enjoy increased profits.

This is a simple issue of “follow the money.” USDA’s 2005 Strategic Plan for NAIS states that

In 2002, the National Institute of Animal Agriculture

(NIAA) initiated meetings that led to the development of the U.S.

Animal Identification Plan (USAIP). That work provided the

foundation data standards for the National Animal Identification

System (NAIS). (Emphasis added.) http://wlsb.state.wy.us/brands/Premises/brochure/NAIS_Draft_Strategic_Plan_42505.pdf

An examination of NIAA’s membership list discloses a lengthy list of tag/tech companies including AgInfoLink, Allflex, Brock’s Cattle-Identi Company, Cattle-Traq, Destron Fearing, EZ-ID/AVID ID systems, Farnam, Fort Supply technologies, Meta Farms, Inc., Micro Beef Technologies, and National Band and Tag, to name a few. The meat packing industry is represented by Cargill and AMI. http://animalagriculture.org/aboutNIAA/members/memberdirectory.asp

The head of NIAA’s Animal ID committee is from Allflex. http://animalagriculture.org/aboutNIAA/committees/AIDIS/animalid.asp

NCBA also appears as a member; however, it entered into a cooperative agreement with APHIS, taking money to promote premises registration.

http://www.cattlementocattlemen.org/watcPremisesRegistration.aspx

http://www-mirror.aphis.usda.gov/newsroom/speeches/content/2007/02/NatlCattlemen2-1-07.shtml

The producer bears all the costs and derives none of the benefits. That, simply, is the reason for the overwhelming rejection of NAIS by producers. The listening sessions, if USDA will listen, make that point beyond cavil.

The existing combination of hot brands, brand inspection, health papers, auction back tags, and border interdiction of disease has served this nation well for 100 years. Brucellosis, TB and other livestock diseases have been effectively controlled while FMD has been unknown in the country since 1929.

On its website, USDA/APHIS acknowledges that existing “programs have achieved significant success over the years in reducing animal disease” but then asserts that “animal disease remains a reality in the U.S. as illustrated in the following examples.” The two bovine diseases used to illustrate USDA’s assertion are BSE and TB. http://animalid.aphis.usda.gov/nais/why/animal_disease.shtml

This is overreaching at its best. BSE has an extended incubation period. BSE is spread not animal to animal but rather by the use of contaminated feed. The United States has not had a domestic case of BSE: the two reported U.S. cases were both atypical which is characterized by an absence of the spongiform changes in the brain caused by typical BSE. (Fact Sheet: Atypical BSE, published by NCBA and the Beef Checkoff.)

USDA, through extended litigation with R-CALF USA, fought to open the U.S. border to Canadian cattle including those over 30-months of age. Canada does have a BSE problem. USDA further litigated with Creekstone Farms to prevent that business from voluntarily testing its cattle for BSE.

Canada’s Food Inspection Agency has acknowledged that feed cohorts from known BSE animals were exported to this country for slaughter. For example, the CFIA announced that five cohorts of the November, 2008, BSE Holstein dairy cow were “exported for slaughter.” According to CFIA, “investigation showed” the feed cohorts “consumed the same potentially contaminated feed.” http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/anima/heasan/disemala/bseesb/bccb2008/15investe.shtml

Given USDA’s i) laissez-faire attitude toward the importation of BSE from Canada, ii) its asserted position that its risk assessments and the removal of SRMs result in a de minimis risk to consumers, and iii) its insistence that U.S. producers cannot voluntarily test for BSE, the contention that BSE is a disease that must now be managed with NAIS is simply disingenuous.

BSE cannot be managed or prevented by NAIS following its importation. BSE should never be imported period. Dr. Stanley Prusiner, Nobel Prize winner for his work in the discovery of prions, the cause of BSE states:

Regardless of whether the tonsils and distal ileum have been removed from cattle and in the case of cattle 30 months of age and older, the brain, eyes, spinal cord, and trigeminal ganglia as well these measures are unlikely to be sufficient to ensure the safety of the meat we consume. The only reliable way to minimize the risk of humans developing vCJD from BSE-infected cattle is to eliminate BSE-infected cattle from the food chain. (Emphasis added.)

http://www.r-calfusa.com/BSE/081117-Exhibit%207,%20Prusiner%20Declaration.pdf

NAIS will do nothing to eliminate BSE from the food chain. USDA continues to allow the importation cattle from Canada which undeniably has a BSE problem. Dr. Prusiner further states that “active testing in the EU has shown that BSE-infected cattle may display no signs even though they harbor substantial numbers of prions that can be identified using a rapid test for BSE.” Id.

There is no rapid testing done in the United States and, as previously mentioned, USDA employed litigation to prevent Creekstone farms from voluntarily testing cattle. To assert that NAIS is now needed to manage BSE is an absurdity at best: either USDA with its risk assessments coupled with the removal of SRMs is correct and there is no BSE risk; or, Dr. Prusiner is correct and BSE should never be introduced into the food chain via imported cattle. In either case, NAIS is of no value.

With regard to TB , Audit Report, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s Control Over the Bovine Tuberculosis Program, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Report No. 50601-0009-Ch, September, 2006. Section 2, page 19, states:

Between FYs 2001 and 2005, 75 percent (205 of 272) of the TB cases detected through slaughter surveillance were determined by APHIS to have originated from Mexico. In response, APHIS has worked with Mexico to improve their TB eradication program; however, these efforts are undermined by the disease’s 3 to 12 month incubation period. Cattle may test negative for the disease prior to export, but develop TB and infect U.S. cattle after import. Although the majority of TB-infected cattle

found by slaughter surveillance in the United States are from Mexico, APHIS has not developed controls to restrict the movement of cattle, or require additional testing to compensate for the disease’s incubation period. Until additional controls are added, APHIS cannot reasonably expect to achieve its goal and

eradicate TB when it is being imported into the United States each year. (Emphasis added.)

Page 19 of the Report further noted that Mexico annually “exports 1 million cattle to the United States”; that Mexico has “a higher prevalence of the disease” such that Mexican cattle “are more likely to be infected with TB”; that Mexico has “no accredited-free states” and in 2004 “reported over 2,000 TB-infected herds compared to just 10 positive herds reported by the United States”; and that “99 percent of the cattle imported from Mexico spend time on U.S. premises prior to slaughter” with such time generally ranging from “5 to 14 months.” (Emphasis added.)

Page 20 of the Report states that “despite the higher prevalence of TB-infected cattle in Mexico, APHIS has not established additional import controls or requirements to test or restrict the movement of Mexican cattle after importation to the United States” and that the cattle so imported “simply become part of the U.S. herds.” The lack of controls over Mexican cattle “has resulted in infected cattle being detected in 12 states over the last 5 years.” A chart on page 20 of the Report shows the states and numbers of TB cases traced to Mexico for FYs 2001-2005. That chart shows 2 in New Mexico and 5 in Arizona.

Page 22 of the Report set forth the conclusion that “APHIS was under utilizing high risk herds” as a tool to “target testing to questionable areas.” (Emphasis added.)

New Mexico RanchIn short, USDA’s contention that TB must be managed by NAIS while we continue to import the disease from Mexico is, like its similar BSE argument, most disingenuous.

Foot and mouth is another disease which Homeland Security and USDA have used as a scare tactic. Given USDA’s efforts to regionalize Argentina and the announced relocation of the Plum Island facility to Kansas, America’s heartland, the assertion that producers must now embrace NAIS to combat a potential FMD outbreak is untenable.

There may well be an outbreak of FMD. Unfortunately, it will likely be a direct result of government action: a leak from the new Kansas facility, similar to the recent breach at the Surrey facility in England; or, it will come across our border which USDA refuses to secure and in fact works to make more porous. NAIS will neither prevent nor mitigate the damage that will occur under either scenario.

The Canadian Veterinarian Journal, Vol. 50, January, 2009, contained a 60-page report on the containment of England’s 2001 FMD outbreak. England has long had an animal ID system; however, that system and “traceback” was not the key to FMD containment in 2001.

The 2001 FMD outbreak was handled by throwing up perimeters and then, with locals, working in from the perimeter. Similarly, states have existing plans for handling emergencies which would include a FMD outbreak. Such an outbreak would be handled as it was in England: a perimeter would be established with no movement inside the perimeter as the necessary epidemiology work would then be done from the perimeter inward.

Animal ID was not utilized to contain the 2001 FMD outbreak nor would it be of any meaningful benefit were this nation to suffer an outbreak. Further, it would not identify vehicles and individuals who have been in contact with contaminated herds; hence, the establishment of a perimeter with work then directed inward.

Even with TB, a perimeter is established and work is then done inward. USDA’s handling of the current TB situation in Nebraska well illustrates this point. NAIS would not alter the course of the investigation.

USDA claims that NAIS is vital in the case of TB as some investigations have taken up to 160 days. Again, the current Nebraska situation is instructive. A perimeter is established and herds are investigated within that perimeter.

What have been possible contacts with the infected herd and what has happened in the last 12 24 months with neighboring herds and cohorts? USDA postures that the livestock industry has no records, no idea of where calves may have been sold or cull cows sent.

USDA adduces no evidence to support that assertion beyond its claim of an investigation of up to 160 days in length. USDA never details what it did in that 160 period and how much investigative time was on issues for which NAIS would have been of no benefit.

Producers have records and so do states. Arizona is a brand state. It has a record of every animal that has left our ranch, where it went, and who the trucker was. We have similar records. USDA is simply misrepresenting the state of the livestock industry.

Border interdiction of disease and running a closed herd–which we do in our operation–are the two best defenses against the introduction of disease. NAIS is of no benefit to us as producers.

2. USDA has neither statutory nor constitutional authority for the imposition of NAIS; indeed, NAIS represents the implementation of the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code and the Codex Alimentarius, the adaptation of which is a treaty action never ratified by the Senate as required by Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution.

USDA has received repeated requests from multiple organizations for a specific citation of authority for NAIS. It has never responded, beyond a generic reference to the Animal Health Protection Act of 2002 coupled with a broad assertion of authority to “carry out operations and measures to protect the health of American Agriculture.”

That assertion is apparently from 7 USC 8308 and has been taken completely out of context. That section authorizes USDA to “carry out operations and measures to detect, control, or eradicate any pest or disease of livestock (including the drawing of blood and diagnostic testing of animals), including animals at a slaughterhouse, stockyard, or other

point of concentration.” (Emphasis added.)

The statutory examples of “operations and measures” are of overt action by USDA such as drawing of blood and diagnostic testing, all directly intended to “detect, control, or eradicate” pests or diseases. The statutory construction doctrines of ejusdem generis and noscitur a sociis require the general terms “operations and measures” to be construed in light of the specific terms “drawing of blood and diagnostic testing.”

The language most certainly does not confer broad authority to mandate overt action by producers in the form of an animal ID system designed to track livestock movement; that does not directly and actively “detect, control, or eradicate” pests or diseases; and which certainly is not a measure such as “drawing of blood and diagnostic testing.”

Any fair reading of the Act does not permit the assertion of authority by USDA for NAIS. Further, USDA’s assertion of broad authority cannot be countenanced under any fair reading of the United States Constitution. The powers of Congress are not implied, plenary, and inherent, but rather express, limited and enumerated. USDA’s assertion that Congress has delegated and granted it broad powers which are implied, plenary and inherent flies in the face of the clear intent of Article 1, Section 8, of the U.S. Constitution.

USDA is an administrative agency under the Executive branch of the federal government and enjoys no powers beyond those expressly granted it by Congress, acting in turn under the express, limited, and enumerated powers granted under Article 1, Section 8.

As noted above, USDA is essentially seeking to implement OIE’s Terrestrial Animal Health Code and the Codex Alimentarius by administrative fiat. Both Codes are a complex web of international agreements and actions by numerous countries. http://www.oie.int/eng/OIE/en_histoire.htm?e1d1; http://www.oie.int/eng/OIE/organisation/en_structure.htm?e1d1; http://www.oie.int/eng/OIE/actes/en_accords.htm

The net effect of an implementation of NAIS by administrative fiat would be the enforcement upon American producers of international standards agreed to by various countries. Those standards are, in essence, treaties much like the free trade agreements which required the consent of the Senate. That body has never considered the agreements comprising the two codes.

The very fact of disagreement between producers and USDA over the necessity of NAIS underscores the need for transparent debate, deliberation, and consideration by the Senate.

Even if the two codes are not construed as treaties, they are most certainly a regulation of commerce with foreign nations, a power reserved to Congress, not to USDA as an administrative agency under the executive branch of government. USDA simply has no power, statutorily or constitutionally, to mandate NAIS.

3. The regulatory and enforcement provisions of NAIS are unknown and its underlying premise is suspect.

Inherent in NAIS is the assumption of an errorless system; i.e., that i) no cattle will ever lose ear tags, ii) that the tags will always function and not succumb to the effects of weather and sun, iii) that all dead and missing cattle can be accounted for, iv) that all movements of cattle can and will be accurately scanned, v) that the data so scanned will always be properly registered, vi) that the data so uploaded will always be properly received vii) that the data so received will be always be properly recorded and viii) that the data will always be retrievable.

USDA has no concept of the conditions under which cattle producers operate, how cattle are handled, what facilities will actually be required to read and scan tags, of weather–heat, cold, wet, dry, dust–under which NAIS would function. It has no concept of a lack of internet access to upload information. The errorless system envisioned by USDA is simply not a real world scenario.

There is no duplication or redundancy as is the case in our present system. The concept of 48-hour trace back, while beguiling, is actually inferior to the present system due to the duplication and redundancy in the existing system.

England has experienced problems with its ID program with a cow herd that is substantially smaller than the U.S. herd. According to a November, 2003, House of Commons Report, the entire population of cattle, sheep and pigs in England was a mere 25 million. In contrast, there are nearly 100 million cattle in the United States.

The livestock industry in England is on a much smaller scale than in the U.S.; yet, according to the October 12, 2008, issue of the Telegraph,

In a situation described as udder chaos, officials at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) admitted in Parliamentary questions that 20,979 of the animals had been mislaid.

The livestock should have been logged on Defra’s Cattle Tracing System, devised to protect public and animal health after the BSE and foot and mouth epidemics.

However the cattle have disappeared from the system, while another 1039 are believed to have been loaded onto cattle trucks and never heard of again, according to the Daily Star.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/3182720/Defra-admits-losing-20000-cows-in-Britain.html

The same article noted that Britain’s Ministry of Defence had lost a computer hard drive containing the private details of 100,000 members of the Armed Forces and that the Home Office had lost a memory stick containing data on 84,000 prisoners in England and Wales.

Such experiences are not unique to England. USDA itself has had similar incidents.

In 2007, USDA inadvertently published the social security numbers of 63,000 people on the internet. http://www.technewsworld.com/story/security/57029.html?wlc=1243391840

Also in 2007, USDA had computers stolen containing sensitive information about farmers. http://seclists.org/isn/2007/Mar/0060.html

In 2006, USDA’s office of Inspector General, in its annual audit, concluded that the “Agriculture Department continues to suffer from inadequate management and monitoring of IT security controls, both at the department-level and in its agencies.” http://gcn.com/articles/2006/10/20/usda-security-improvements-still-not-effective-ig.aspx

Indeed, USDA has been given the lowest possible marks for 5 straight years on federal computer report card grades by the House Government Reform Committee. http://www.internetnews.com/security/article.php/3615831

John Carter, former chairman of the Australian Beef Association and whose family holds the oldest registered brand in that country, reports that 20% of the cattle in the NLIS data base are missing; that a personal audit of his NLIS data base shows that less than 50% of the animals he has sold are so reflected in the data base; than a “trace back trial” of 300 head of cattle could track only 75% and that the remaining 25% could be tracked only through Australia’s traditional “paper trail.” Carter states that NLIS has “produced a shambles.”

The notion that NAIS is a technologically feasible means of tracing 100 million head of cattle is not supported by existing evidence. USDA’s own record with computers, theft, hacking and other security breaches coupled with animal ID experiences in England and Australia well demonstrate that it is a system that should be rejected.

What will happen when cattle movements are not accurately scanned, registered, transmitted, or received? There will be discrepancies and irregularities in data. How heavy handed will USDA be in such instances? Most producers have experience with federal agencies and in many cases, it is not favorable.

In our own experience, dealing with TB in New Mexico, we have found the agency and its rules to be heavy handed with demands which, by its own admission, have no rational basis.

USDA has given no indication to producers of how NAIS will be enforced and discrepancies/irregularities handled. If England is any indication, producers can expect heavy-handed enforcement.

According to London’s Telegraph, Cheshire dairyman David Dobbins had 567 head of dairy cattle destroyed by DEFRA as a consequence of ID paperwork “irregularities” notwithstanding that DEFRA “failed to explain how many or what these were.” Prior to the destruction of the animals. Mr. Dobbins records were seized by DEFRA, negating his ability to even respond to DEFRA’s noncompliance assertions. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1545862/Christopher-Bookers-notebook.html

One fears that NAIS will bring similar events upon the heads of this nation’s cattle producers

4. USDA has spent well in excess of $140 million promoting premises registration and NAIS. This expenditure is most irresponsible at a time when this nation is–in essence–bankrupt. This nation simply cannot afford any more such frivolous expenditures.

In the face of the hundreds of billions and indeed trillions of dollars which the Federal Government has thrown about the last several months, USDA’s NAIS expenditures are minuscule. Nevertheless, it is an expenditure of money which the federal government simply does not have.

The May 30, 2009, issue of USA Today reported numbers previously discussed in various sources by David Walker, former U.S. Comptroller General who resigned in disgust following Congressional inaction on his annual report to Congress. The total unfunded liabilities of the Federal Government now total a record $63.8 trillion, a sum equal to $546,668 for every U.S. household!

Estimates are that only around 1% of U.S. households have a net worth sufficient to pay their proportionate share of the $63.8 trillion in debt. In short, this nation is bankrupt.

Continued spending on NAIS, a program for which, as discussed above, no need has ever been demonstrated is simply irresponsible given this nation’s financial condition.

NAIS should immediately be terminated and not a single additional dollar spent thereon.

5. USDA has no credibility with producers and there is no on the ground support for NAIS, without which it simply cannot succeed.

At all of the listening sessions–through Albuquerque on June 16–two salient facts emerged: there is widespread mistrust of USDA among producers and there is virtually no producer support for NAIS. A chasm, a gulf exists between USDA and producers.

NAIS was never intended to be voluntary. Several comments in the 2005 Strategic Plan underscore this:

— NAIS must be implemented(USDA Secretary Mike Johanns)

— We have been working on an animal identification plan here at

USDA over a number of years now, and our goal

has remained consistent–to be able to track animals within a 48-

hour period. We are prepared to roll up our sleeves and get this

implemented . NAIS is a top USDA priority. (William “Bill”

Hawks Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs)

— [W]e move forward to implement NAIS. (John R. Clifford, Deputy

Administrator Veterinary Services)

(Page 2, Strategic Plan) http://wlsb.state.wy.us/brands/Premises/brochure/NAIS_Draft_Strategic_Plan_42505.pdf

The Plan claimed that “stakeholders provide broad support for national animal identification” and in its timeline listed January, 2009, as the target date by which “Reporting of defined animal movements [will be] required; [and the] entire program [becomes] mandatory.”

USDA pulled out all stops. In Colorado, 4-H children were prohibited from showing livestock at the state fair unless their parents had registered their “premises.” Money was given to FFA in the hope of cajoling parents.

The Plan was changed to become “voluntary” and NAIS morphed from an animal health plan to a marketing tool; then it became a means of assuring consumers that their beef is wholesome–a food safety issue; finally, the trump card of bio-terrorism was played.

Four years later, and following some $140 million to register “premises”–much of it bribe money handed out to “partners” in an effort to enlist their support–only some 30% of “premises” have been registered.

In many states, however, when dairies, feeding, hog and poultry operations, are excluded, less than 10% of cattle producers have registered. Missouri is such an example.

Having played all its cards of crisis, USDA’s plan had nevertheless run amuck. There was no “stakeholder” support. USDA, fond of the term “stakeholder” had forgotten that the only real “stakeholders” were those producers on the ground who actually owned the cattle that were to be the subject of NAIS.

USDA apparently assumed that producers were red-necked bumpkins who could be coached into compliance by smooth talking bureaucrats in Brooks Brothers suits singing the soothing song of the voluntary nature of NAIS.

USDA’s next target for bamboozlement was Congress. At the March 11 NAIS hearing earlier this year before the House Agricultural Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry, USDA stacked the deck. The first “panel” consisted of but a single individual: APHIS’ Dr. John Clifford who was given over one hour to advocate for NAIS.

There was but a single independent cattle producer invited to give testimony, R-CALF’s Dr. Max Thornsberry, who was afforded a mere five minutes of time.

All other panel members were representatives of government (Dr. Williams and Mr. St. Cry); were representatives of groups who were had taken, directly or indirectly, bribe money from USDA to promote NAIS under the euphemism of “co-operative agreements” (Mr. Nutt, Dr. Jordan, and Mr. Butler); or were former USDA/APHIS employees (Dr. Ron DeHaven.)

Chairman Scott, during a brief discussion on foot and mouth, seized on a reference to the highly contagious nature of bovine FMD and a mention of potential airborne contamination to try and connect human health with bovine FMD. Specifically, Chairman Scott suggested that NAIS was necessary to protect humans from contracting bovine FMD. USDA’s Dr. Clifford did nothing to correct Chairman Scott’s misapprehension.

There is a human form of FMD which is “a common viral illness of infants and children” but it is “not related” to the bovine disease. (See the website for the Center for Disease Control and its discussion of the human form http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/revb/enterovirus/hfhf.htm)

Misconception manifested itself again when Representative Conaway asked Dr. Clifford about the triggering event for a 48-hour traceback under NAIS. Representative Conaway’s question was in the context of a boy in Philadelphia who becomes ill after he has eaten a hamburger.

Traceback of live animals has nothing to do with traceback of E. coli, which was underlying Representative Conaway’s question. There is presently no traceback system from the consumption of meat to the processing facility or meat packing plant which would be the source of contamination. NAIS does nothing to change this: traceability would stop at the processing plant door.

As he had done with Chairman Scott and the misconception on FMD and a perceived risk to human health, Dr. Clifford did nothing to correct Representative Conaway’s erroneous conception that NAIS had something to do with tracing of E. coli in contaminated meat. In short, Dr. Clifford allowed the erroneous conception that NAIS was a human health and food safety issue to go unchallenged.

Having engaged in such misleading conduct, USDA initiated listening sessions, handing out materials including a May 7 “Dear Participant” letter under the signature of John Clifford. There are interesting phrases in that letter:

  • We need to work collaboratively to resolve concerns and move forward with animal tracebility
  • NAIS is a cooperative effort
  • Much more work is needed to fully implement NAIS
  • Together we can develop a system that we an all support.

Inherent in those phrases is a determination on the part of USDA to proceed with NAIS, notwithstanding total producer opposition thereto. Producers will be spun as rejecting the reasonable overtures of a wise USDA. The platitude of wanting to listen and hear producer input is a velvet glove masking an iron fist.

Several states have statutes prohibiting a mandatory NAIS. How will that be handled? In a system of federalism, does USDA really have ultimate authority over livestock? Does Article 1, Section 8, of the federal Constitution in fact negative much of the Animal Health Protection Act relied on by USDA? At the Albuquerque listening session, one Navajo speaker suggested that the tribes may not accept a mandatory NAIS. How will the issue of tribal sovereignty be resolved? Does USDA really wish to force a constitutional confrontation on these points?

USDA may mandate NAIS but in the process will further alienate producers. The existing gulf will become an unbridgeable chasm. Enforcement will make criminals of law abiding citizens as producers are jailed and their property subjected to confiscatory fines to coerce compliance. Is this what USDA truly desires?

In our operation, we will simply not comply with NAIS, even if it is made mandatory. We are weary of an intrusive government and the fights associated therewith. Rather than continuing to submit to intrusive, heavy-handed regulation, we would choose to exit the business. There is no joy in serfdom on one’s own land and with one’s own animals.

We respectfully urge Secretary Vilsack to close down shop with NAIS and to began a new dawn of rebuilding bridges with producers, working with us rather than with industrialized agriculture, to fulfill USDA’s express statutory mandate and be about the business of improving “the quality of life for people living in the rural and nonmetropolitan regions of the nation.” 7 USC 2204 (a).

That mandate is a true cooperative effort, one that can be achieved without the expenditure of vast sums of money, without onerous regulations but rather by simply working to rehabilitate commodity markets, restoring them as true markets where prices reflect supply and demand and not the oligopsonistic bargaining power and market manipulation by industrialized agriculture coupled with speculation by hedge funds and individuals who have never and will never own a cow.

As producers, our livelihood is more dependent on fixing broken domestic markets than it is on expanding foreign markets and implementing an ID system that provides a false sense of security for herd health.

Stop NAIS now and actually help producers do what they do best: produce. Currently, USDA’s policies would castrate and bid the gelding be fruitful.

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Lies and Prevarication

Doreen Hannes, radio talk show host, NAIS scholar, legal analyst and livestock freedom advocate prepared the following details of HR 2749.  Hannes, far more knowledgeable of international political sabotage than most all elected officials, offers this carefully researched document.  Read it and go to the next town hall meeting with your elected employees.  Use this data to know how the cow ate the cabbage and where to spit it.  Darol


HR 2749 Authorizes International Take Over of Food Production –

by Doreen Hannes 2009

August 6, 2009

Spy on YouThe staff of Congress said HR 2749, the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009, didn’t authorize the National Animal Identification System. Many organic groups agreed with them.

They weren’t telling the truth, however, either out of ignorance or deliberate omission.

HR 2749 certainly doesn’t mention “the” National Animal Identification System by name, but it definitely authorizes the program.

It also doesn’t state that it is legally authorizing Good Agricultural Practices, or GAP, partially comprised of Codex guidelines on traceability and food safety and the OIE’s Guide to Good Farming Practices including auditing, certification and inspections as well as disincentives for not participating in the form of fines, penalties, and loss of access to market; but it most certainly does.

Is it possible that Congress doesn’t have the slightest idea what they were voting on?

Maybe, maybe not.

It doesn’t come as any surprise that Congress didn’t read the bill as it was changed three times in a 24-hour period before it was passed out of the House with a 283-142 vote.

Congress says it doesn’t have time to read bills like HR 2749.

The bill includes that mentioned above and even more.

All one needs to do is understand what is involved in Good Agricultural Practices and how the agencies of the World Trade Organization operate within member countries to get this.

I’ll explain that to you. Really, there are only a few pieces from the legislation itself that are necessary to read to fully comprehend that this is indeed what we are dealing with in HR 2749.

The international “guidelines” are much lengthier than the legislation itself.

HR 2749 is 160 pages in its final version. If you search through it, you will find the following references to international standards and guidelines:

“(B) INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS.—In issuing guidance or regulations… the Secretary shall review international hazard analysis and preventive control standards that are in existence on the date of the enactment of this Act and relevant to such guidelines or regulations to ensure that the programs…..are consistent……with such standards.” (page 35)

“CONSISTENCY WITH INTERNATIONAL OBLIGATIONS.—The Secretary shall apply this paragraph consistently with United States obligations under international agreements.” (page81)

“The Secretary shall issue regulations to ensure that any qualified certifying entity and its auditors are free from conflicts of interest. In issuing these regulations, the Secretary may rely on or incorporate international certification standards.” (page 82)

What this actually means is that there will be a layer of auditors, certifiers, and inspectors over every aspect of food production in this country, and that these inspectors and certifiers will be trained in ISO (International Standards Organization) management program certification.

The ISO has been working with Codex Alimentarius on Food Safety Standards and in particular, a technical standard for Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) which is a consortium of the seven largest food retailers in the world, and that is ISO22000:2005.

All traceability falls under the purview of Codex, the OIE (World Animal Health Organization and the IPPC (International Plant Protection Convention) for global trade agreements.

The following excerpt from HR 2749 shows the fully interoperable global network already in existence regarding food and its production:

“Development of such guidelines shall take into account the utilization of existing unique identification schemes and compatibility with customs automated systems, such as integration with the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) and the International Trade Data System (ITDS), and any successor systems.” (page 142)

So it is clear that international standards and guidelines are implicit in this legislation.

Note the usage of the command form SHALL. This isn’t a ‘might’, ‘may’ or in anyway a voluntary issue on the part of the Secretary.

Then there is the section on Traceability. This is a code word in the National Animal Identification System and when one reads Sec.107 of this bill, it definitively describes components of NAIS even down to the 48 hour trace back, which cannot even be fantasized about with out individual animal identification.

“…..the Secretary shall issue regulations establishing a tracing system that enables the Secretary to identify each person who grows, produces, manufactures, processes, packs, transports, holds, or sells such food in as short a timeframe as practicable but no longer than 2 business days.” (=note that it says “grows”=) (page 70), and

“……use a unique identifier for each facility owned or operated by such person for such purpose…” (page69)

So we have PIN and 48 hour traceback harmonizing with international standards and guidelines along with this:

“….”(C) COORDINATION REGARDING FARM IMPACT.—In issuing regulations under this paragraph that will impact farms, the Secretary “(i) shall coordinate with the Secretary of Agriculture; and “(ii) take into account the nature of the impact of the regulations on farms.” (page 71)

Now that I’ve killed you with legalese, it’s time to let you find out just what these international standards and guidelines mean to those engaged in agriculture in this country.

Good Agricultural Practices are not a standard in and of themselves. They are more of a combination of standards and guidelines set forth by the FAO, Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, through both the OIE (World Animal Health Organization) and Codex Alimentarius (Food Code) to meet the certification and auditing side of the international trade aspects of the standards set forth.

The OIE and Codex are charged with setting global standards and guidelines for the member countries of the WTO to meet to satisfy the SPS (Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary), TBT (Technical Barriers to Trade) and Equivalency agreements of the WTO for participation in international trade.

Both the OIE and CODEX have guidelines for traceability that, with the passage of HR2749 into law, would be written into regulations governing all interstate commerce within the boundaries of the United States.

The components of traceability are the pillars of NAIS that many of us have become so familiar with in the course of the battle over the past several years. Those being:

  • Premise Identification,
  • Animal Identification, and
  • Animal Tracking.

You can’t have traceability under the Codex and WTO and FAO international standards without having those three components.

One of the main issues in the implementation of these standards and guidelines within a member nation of the WTO is that they must have a legal framework through which to regulate and enforce these guidelines and standards.

HR 2749 would meet the criteria for that legal framework via the excerpts from the bill above.

In the OIE’s “Guide to Good Farming Practices” the management of a livestock facility are clearly spelled out.

Some of these recommendations that would become defacto law in the US under agency rule-making on passage of HR2749 (GGFP delineates international guidelines for food safety at the farm level) are for each animal, you must keep:

  • All commercial and health documents enabling their exact itinerary to be traced from their farm or establishment to their final destination,
  • A record of all persons entering the farm,
  • Medical certificates of persons working with the animals,
  • Documents proving the water you give to the animals meet specific criteria,
  • Samples of all feed given to the animals,
  • Documents from official inspections,
  • Records of treatment and procedures on all animals (castration, disbudding, calving, medications, etc.)
  • Prevent domestic animals (cats and dogs) from roaming in and around livestock buildings,
  • All of these documents at the disposal of the competent authority (government or veterinary services) when it conducts farm visits.

Some of the other guidelines and standards that would come into play after the implementation of traceability for all agricultural products would be :

  • (from FAO COAG/17 “Development of a Framework for Good Agricultural Practices”)
  • The adoption and implementation of international standards and codes for which Codex food safety standards and guidelines have been designed, and
  • The associated capacity building, training, development and field implementation in the context of the different production systems and agro-ecozones. These include:
    • Enhancing Food Quality and Safety by Strengthening Handling,
    • Processing and Marketing in the Food Chain (214A9);
    • Capacity Building and Risk Analysis Methodologies for Compliance with Food Safety Standards and Pesticide Control (215P1);
    • Food Quality Control and Consumer Protection (221P5);
    • Food Safety Assessment and Rapid Alert System (221P6); and
    • Food Quality and Safety Throughout the Food Chain (221P8).”*

To be certified as meeting the requirements of “GAP,” which is synonymous with being in compliance with international standards and guidelines, we can check out GlobalGAP.org.

This is “the” certifying methodology for international trade in ag products. Here are a few excerpts from their 122 page general regulations booklet that has links to checklists for those who would be certifiers and auditors under the principles of GAP.

GAP is an organization, not a governing body under WTO agreements, that works with nations and businesses to meet the criteria regarding these GAP practices for international trade. Here is a bare minimum of excerpts from their regulation document:

  • (ii) Developing a Good Agricultural Practice (G.A.P.) framework for benchmarking existing assurance schemes and standards including traceability. (iii) Providing guidance for continuous improvement and the development and understanding of best practice. (iv) Establish a single, recognised framework for independent verification.
  • Production Location: A production unit or group of production units, covered by the same ownership, operational procedures, farm management, and GLOBALGAP (EUREPGAP) decision-making activities.
  • Within the context of GLOBALGAP (EUREPGAP) Integrated Farm Assurance this means tracing product from the producer’s immediate customer back to the producer and certified farm.
  • Within the context of GLOBALGAP (EUREPGAP) Integrated Farm Assurance this means tracking product from the producer to his immediate customer.

In simple English, which appears to be highly lacking in all these guidelines, it means NAIS for everything, and for anyone who wishes to be engaged in agriculture. Remember the “grows” phrase from the earlier excerpt from HR2749.

Now let’s look at some of the ‘exception’ clauses in HR2749.

This bill is a terrifically crafty piece of legislation that is designed to cloud the reader’s understanding of the impact of the law being proposed in it.

For example, all of the exception clauses give the exception under this Act so long as you are ready to be regulated under a different Act. We’ll just look at a couple of these clauses to allow you to get the gist of the lack of exception available through the exceptions….

FARMS- A farm is exempt from the requirements of this Act to the extent such farm raises animals from which food is derived that is regulated under the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the Poultry Products Inspection Act, or the Egg Products Inspection Act.

“(I) such an operation that packs or holds food, provided that all food used in such activities is grown, raised, or consumed on such farm or another farm under the same ownership;

“(II) such an operation that manufactures or processes food, provided that all food used in such activities is consumed on such farm or another farm under the same ownership; (pages9 and10)

Thus, if you grow everything you feed and consume, then everything you grow—and use no minerals or salts that you don’t mine yourself—you may be exempt.

Or, in plain English, don’t even try to make a living in agriculture if you won’t comply with these rules.

One more exception to contend with here is:

(A) DIRECT SALES BY FARMS- Food is exempt from the requirements of this subsection if such food is–

(i) produced on a farm; and

(ii) sold by the owner, operator, or agent in charge of such farm directly to a consumer or to a restaurant or grocery store. (page 71)

Thissounds good.

However, there are several problems with this that are not evident without some knowledge of how things are done in the traditional avenues open for market to growers.

First of all, cattle, whom you may recall as the primary target of the NAIS Business Plan, are sold either at auction barns or via potload to feedlots. It is illegal to sell beef directly from the farm to consumers in every state that I know of. People often will sell a calf ready to butcher in halves or quarters to people and deliver the calf to the slaughter facility for the consumer, but this is far from the normal route of commerce in cattle or other species of meat animals. Even if you can securely wedge your operation into this particular exemption, they get you later via the record keeping section of this bill:

‘(E) RECORDKEEPING REGARDING PREVIOUS SOURCES AND SUBSEQUENT RECIPIENTS- For a food or person covered by a limitation or exemption under subparagraph (B), (C), or (D), the Secretary shall require each person who produces, receives, manufactures, processes, packs, transports, distributes, or holds such food to maintain records to identify the immediate previous sources of such food and its ingredients and the immediate subsequent recipients of such food.

‘(F) RECORDKEEPING BY RESTAURANTS AND GROCERY STORES- For a food covered by an exemption under subparagraph (A), restaurants and grocery stores shall keep records documenting the farm that was the source of the food.

‘(G) RECORDKEEPING BY FARMS- For a food covered by an exemption under subparagraph (A), farms shall keep records, in electronic or non-electronic format, for at least 6 months documenting the restaurant or grocery store to which the food was sold.’. (page 74 and 75)

So being exempt means you are required to keep records.

Keeping required records means you may be required to release those records. So how exempt can a person get under this legislation?

Then of course, as with any law, there are the fines and penalties. These are from $20,000 to $1,000,000 per violation. (page 122)

There is also the change under the seizure section that takes away judicial overview…(double quotations indicate amending language)

“. . .procedure in cases under this section shall conform, as nearly as may be, to the procedure in admiralty; except that on demand of either party any issue of fact joined in any such case shall be tried by jury, “”and except that, with respect to proceedings relating to food, Rule G of the Supplemental Rules of Admiralty or Maritime Claims and Asset Forfeiture Actions shall not apply in any such case, exigent circumstances shall be deemed to exist for all seizures brought under this section, and the summons and arrest warrant shall be issued by the clerk of the court without court review in any such case””……pg 116

So we can just throw out that pesky Fourth Amendment to the Constitution and while we’re at it, let’s get rid of probable cause as well via this wording from page 117:

by striking “credible evidence or information indicating” and inserting “reason to believe;”

There are many other dangerous aspects to HR 2749, like seizures, quarantines, and licensing and whistle blower provisions, but this should leave no doubt that this bill will indeed affect ranches and farms, and has the potential to affect even home food production if an agency decides to apply the international risk analysis schemes to that venue.

Now, the questions that everyone involved in agriculture, meaning everyone who eats, must ask themselves are these:

Can regulating, fining and destroying the freedom of people to grow food create food safety?

Have the impacts of Free Trade on this nation been beneficial for the citizens of this country?

Have food safety concerns increased or decreased since we have begun to import more food under these trade agreements?

And ultimately, does the US Constitution provide for the voidance of the Bill of Rights to participate in global trade?

My copy of the Constitution clearly does not allow for any law to void the Bill of Rights which is unalienable and Constitutionally guaranteed. It’s time to let our Federal representatives know in no uncertain terms, that everything to do with governance ultimately comes down to the consent of the governed, and we will not consent to being run by international agencies.

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My deep thanks to Paul Griepentrog, who helped in going through the legislation and many of the ramifications and amendments to current law under this Act.

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This family says – “No more fairs”

They say a government program violates their private-property rights.

Cassidy Younggreen, 13, won awards for her goats at the Boulder County Fair last year, but this year she and her brother Ryan wont be there. They raise 30 goats, two llamas and 15 chickens.

Cassidy Younggreen, 13, won awards for her goats at the Boulder County Fair last year, but this year she and her brother Ryan won't be there. They raise 30 goats, two llamas and 15 chickens.

BROOMFIELD — Cassidy and Ryan Young-green won a passel of ribbons in the Boulder County Fair last year, carrying on a family tradition of putting their livestock up against any comers in annual county-fair competitions.

But this year, Cassidy, 13, and Ryan, 11, aren’t showing anything at the Boulder County Fair — not even their award-winning goats — because they would be forced to participate in an intrusive new government program, said their mom, Kellyjo Younggreen.

“They tell us you have to register, you have to register,” Younggreen said. “But I think this just goes too far.”

Some other farm families in Colorado feel the same way about a national animal-identification program that they say is a violation of private-property rights.

They are refusing to let their children enter their livestock in fair competitions — including those in Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Larimer and Weld counties and the Colorado State Fair — where entries must comply with the National Animal Identification System. NAIS is a U.S. Department of Agriculture initiative designed to help regulators track animal diseases.

“There are several instances of families across the state who are simply saying no,” said John Reid, a cattle operator in Ordway and member of the Colorado Independent CattleGrowers Association. “There is overwhelming opposition to this initiative everywhere.”

But proponents say the ID program will help prevent a national outbreak of livestock disease. Fair organizers also point out protesting families are few and far between.

In fact, they say, the number of fair participants is actually up this year.

“It seems pretty isolated to maybe two families and a (4-H) club or two,” said Richard Biella, president of the Boulder County Fair board.

Biella, too, was skeptical of the ID plan. But as an owner of Angus cattle, he became a fan because he says it could prevent health problems afflicting entire operations.

Cassidy Younggreen, 13, won awards for her goats at the Boulder County Fair last year, but this year she and her brother Ryan wont be there. They raise 30 goats, two llamas and 15 chickens.

Cassidy Younggreen, 13, won awards for her goats at the Boulder County Fair last year, but this year she and her brother Ryan won't be there. They raise 30 goats, two llamas and 15 chickens.

“I understand some people don’t feel comfortable with the program,” Biella said. “But truly, if the government wanted to find out about us, they only have to look at our license plates, punch in a couple of numbers, and they’d get all they wanted.”

At the center of the NAIS are premises identification numbers, or PINs. When livestock owners register for a PIN, they must give basic contact information as well as what species of animals are on their property and the type of operation.

So far, the system is voluntary. But a handful of county fairs in Colorado this year are requiring PIN registration for 4-H livestock that might go to market.

The state fair also requires PIN registration, but that hasn’t stopped 4-H families from entering competitions, said Gwen Bosley, animal ID coordinator at the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

“There are a lot of misconceptions out there about what this is all about,” Bosley said. “But once you explain that it is simply a way to protect animals from an animal health emergency, people understand. There might be a handful of families in the state who have dropped out of fairs because of this, but that’s about it.”

Kellyjo Younggreen, however, said a national ID program will only favor corporate farms because only one animal will be registered out of a whole section of the same breed of animals. Small operators like her — with a 5-acre operation of mostly chickens, rabbits and goats — will have to tag each animal.

The possible expense of such a program — and the notion her family’s operation will be part of a massive government database — makes her nervous.

“I just don’t like the scare tactics the government is using,” Younggreen said. “It feels like we are being forced into something we don’t need.”

Monte Whaley: 720-929-0907 or mwhaley@denverpost.com

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