Posts Tagged NAIS

Animal ID Rule Filed with OMB for Final Review

Downsize Government

Memo ~~ USDA knows 18% of the beef consumed in the USA was imported
in 2011 because the nation does not produce enough product to feed
it’s people, yet more costly rulemaking is assessed upon producers
by bureaucrats. This document is vague and impossible to determine
the teeth, however, be assured, the devil is in the details. Once
Hammerschmidt gets this approved and mandatory he will personally
add the teath. There will be no more listening sessions or public
comments — the federales will have their way, regardless of the
majoritie’s oppositon.

Yesterday, USDA submitted it Animal Disease Traceability Rule to the
White House Office of Management and Budget for final review. See
This is one obstinate agency.


AGENCY: USDA-APHIS RIN: 0579-AD24TITLE: Animal Disease Traceability
RIN Data
USDA/APHIS RIN: 0579-AD24 Publication ID: Fall 2011
Title: Animal Disease Traceability

Abstract: This rulemaking would establish a new part 
in the Code of Federal Regulations containing minimum 
national identification and documentation requirements 
for livestock moving interstate. The proposed regulations 
specify approved forms of official identification for each
species covered under this rulemaking but would allow such 
livestock to be moved interstate with another form of 
identification, as agreed upon by animal health officials 
in the shipping and receiving States or tribes. The purpose 
of the new regulations is to improve our ability to
trace livestock in the event that disease is found.

Agency: Department of Agriculture(USDA) 
Priority: Other Significant
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage
of Rulemaking: Final Rule Stage
Major: No Unfunded Mandates: No
CFR Citation: 9 CFR 90
Legal Authority: 7 USC 8305
Legal Deadline: None

Statement of Need: Preventing and controlling animal disease is the
cornerstone of protecting American animal agriculture. While ranchers
and farmers work hard to protect their animals and their livelihoods,
there is never a guarantee that their animals will be spared from
disease. To support their efforts, USDA has enacted regulations to
prevent, control, and eradicate disease, and to increase foreign and
domestic confidence in the safety of animals and animal products.
Traceability helps give that reassurance. Traceability does not prevent
disease, but knowing where diseased and at-risk animals are, where they
have been, and when, is indispensable in emergency response and in
ongoing disease programs. The primary objective of these proposed
regulations is to improve our ability to trace livestock in the event
that disease is found in a manner that continues to ensure the smooth
flow of livestock in interstate commerce.

Summary of the Legal Basis: Under the Animal Health Protection Act (7
U.S.C. 8301 et seq.), the Secretary of Agriculture may prohibit or
restrict the interstate movement of any animal to prevent the
introduction or dissemination of any pest or disease of livestock, and
may carry out operations and measures to detect, control, or eradicate
any pest or disease of livestock. The Secretary may promulgate such
regulations as may be necessary to carry out the Act.

Alternatives: As part of its ongoing efforts to safeguard animal
health, APHIS initiated implementation of the National Animal
Identification System (NAIS) in 2004. More recently, the Agency launched
an effort to assess the level of acceptance of NAIS through meetings
with the Secretary, listening sessions in 14 cities, and public
comments. Although there was some support for NAIS, the vast majority of
participants were highly critical of the program and of USDA's
implementation efforts. The feedback revealed that NAIS has become a
barrier to achieving meaningful animal disease traceability in the
United States in partnership with America's producers. The option we are
proposing pertains strictly to interstate movement and gives States and
tribes the flexibility to identify and implement the traceability
approaches that work best for them.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits: A workable and effective animal
traceability system would enhance animal health programs, leading to
more secure market access and other societal gains. Traceability can
reduce the cost of disease outbreaks, minimizing losses to producers and
industries by enabling current and previous locations of potentially
exposed animals to be readily identified. Trade benefits can include
increased competitiveness in global markets generally, and when
outbreaks do occur, the mitigation of export market losses through
regionalization. Markets benefit through more efficient and timely
epidemiological investigation of animal health issues. Other societal
benefits include improved animal welfare during natural disasters. The
main economic effect of the rule is expected to be on the beef and
cattle industry. For other species such as horses and other equine
species, poultry, sheep and goats, swine, and captive cervids, APHIS
would largely maintain and build on the identification requirements of
existing disease program regulations. Costs of an animal traceability
system would include those for tags and interstate certificates of
veterinary inspection (ICVIs) or other movement documentation, for
animals moved interstate. Incremental costs incurred are expected to
vary depending upon a number of factors, including whether an enterprise
does or does not already use eartags to identify individual cattle. For
many operators, costs of official animal identification and ICVIs would
be similar, respectively, to costs associated with current animal
identification practices and the in-shipment documentation currently
required by individual States. To the extent that official animal
identification and ICVIs would simply replace current requirements, the
incremental costs of the rule for private enterprises would be minimal.

Risks: This rulemaking is being undertaken to address the animal health
risks posed by gaps in the existing regulations concerning
identification of livestock being moved interstate. The current lack of
a comprehensive animal traceability program is impairing our ability to
trace animals that may be infected with disease.

Action Date FR Cite
NPRM 08/11/2011 76 FR 50082
NPRM Comment Period End 11/09/2011
Final Rule 08/00/2012

Additional Information: Additional information about APHIS and its
programs is available on the Internet at
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No Government Levels

Affected: State, Tribal
Small Entities Affected: Businesses Federalism: No
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No

Agency Contact: Neil Hammerschmidt
Program Manager, Animal Disease Traceability, VS

Department of Agriculture
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
4700 River Road, Unit 46,
Riverdale, MD 20737-1231
Phone:301 734-5571


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S.510 Does NOT Protect Local, Natural Food

Your Global Voice of Health & Food Freedom™
<blockquote>Health Freedom USA is pleased to re-post this article by Ms. Hannes which was originally circulated by our friends at NAIS … NAIS is the National Animal Identification System which wants to “chip” all farm animals, “voluntarily” — and, for many reasons we agree with them, NAIS stinks! Both Codex and S.510 are very NAIS friendly, and thus not friendly to farmers, consumer or environment – see:</blockquote>
Why S.510 Does NOT Protect Local, Natural Food… or Freedom!
S. 510 Hits A Snag
by: Doreen Hannes Dec. 4, 2010
Reprinted with permission from

Senate Bill S 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act, passed the Senate on November 30th, 74-23. Not a single Democrat crossed party lines. This bill is the coup on food in the US. Even though the Tester Amendment was included to dupe those who think it will stop small farmers and processors from being put right out of business, it will only slow down the demise of some small farms.

Then it came to light that a Constitutional issue that had been staring all of us in the face was present. The Senate did not pick up HR2749, which passed the House in July of 2009; instead they took up their own monster in S 510. They also began revenue generation in the Senate (Section 107 of the bill), which is expressly forbidden by the Constitution.

Faced with a patently un-Constitutional bill, that violates Constitutional process, we have to remain vigilant until BOTH houses have adjourned for the winter recess prior to the next session of Congress. Talk about roller coasters.

If the Constitution means anything at all, the House should blue slip S. 510, which would preclude them from taking the bill up and very likely run out the clock for passage in this session.

However, there are four choices available for the legislation to move forward before they adjourn on December 24th. The first is for the Senate to bring it back and get unanimous consent to remove the offending section. Since Senator Coburn of Oklahoma will not consent, that avenue is cut off.

Second is for the Senate to bust S. 510 down to the original a compromise amendment, remove the funding section and the Tester amendment and try to ram it through the entire senate process again before the 24th. This seems unlikely, but do not trust them as far as you can throw a semi trailer loaded with lead.

Third, the Senate could take HR2749, which has already passed the House, and rush it through the Senate, and it would go straight to the Presidents desk with no process with the House necessary. This also seems rather unlikely. The bills are very similar and would have the same detrimental effects for everyone, but the Senators are not familiar with the bill, so it could be really tough.

Fourth, the House Ways and Means committee could pass the bill through and forgive the Constitutional infraction and refuse to blue slip the bill, then vote on it before the 24th and we would have the bill albeit there would be legal issues brought forth that could possibly ensnare the regulations they want to write under this bill. This appears to be the most likely potential for S. 510.

Make no mistake about this, SB 510, or HR 2749 are worse than the Patriot Act, the Health Care bill, and the Federal Reserve Act combined. We can all live without little pieces of paper, and many of us can live without doctors, and we have been living with the increasing police state since 911, but none of us can live without food and water. If we lose food and water, we will not be able to fight anything else.

The Tester-Hagan Amendment Lipstick on a Pig

The largest deception played on the public in S. 510 is the inclusion of the Tester Amendment. This amendment was sold as the complete exemption for all small farms grossing less than $500,000 per year. But if one reads the actual amendment, it is evident that it will not do what it is purported to do for the vast majority of small producers.

The Tester Amendment has strident restrictions on those who may be exempted from HACCP (Hazard and Critical Control Point) implementations. HACCP is 50 pages of instructions that require a certifier to sign off on the plan, and a team to be trained in ensuring the plan is followed on the farm. The requirement of this plan put about 40% of small meat processors out of business several years ago. If you fall under the protection of the Tester amendment, you will not have to do it….but let us see how protective the Tester Amendment really is.

First, the Tester Amendment purports to exempt farms with less than $500,000 in sales from the requirements of S.510. However, to be exempt one must sell more than 50% of their products directly to consumers or restaurants within a 275-mile radius from production, and keep records substantiating those sales. The records are open for inspection and verification of the exemption. In other words, you have to prove you are playing by their rules through record keeping and approval of those records, or meet the more onerous requirements of S.510.

You must apply to be included in the protections of the Tester amendment. You must substantiate through your records for three years that you fit the category of selling more than 50% of average annual monetary value within this 275-mile radius. So, if you sell on the roadside or at a farmers market, you must have a map handy and ask for ID from everyone who purchases from you or lose your exemption. Nice, huh?

Proof of Residence for Food? Really?

I can see it now….A lovely early June day, with the birds singing and the smell of freshly mown hay hanging in the air like the best memory from childhood. A young mother pulls into the Farmers Market and readies herself for a wonderful shopping experience.

She approaches the first stand with her mouth nearly watering at the bright display of fresh produce. I would like 3 cucumbers, please, says the lady with her 3 kids and cloth grocery bag.

Great! Can I see your ID? replies the guy in bibs.

Oh, I am paying with cash she replies with a smile.

No matter, says the farmer, We have to make sure you are within a 275 mile radius of our farm in order to sell to you.

She looks perplexed and says, Well, we are not. We are on our way to visit my parents and I wanted to make a special dinner for all of us, using their locally produced foods so they could remember how good home grown veggies are….So I can not buy from you without an ID?

The farmer scratches his head and says, Now see, I have to be very careful. I belong to a CSA that sells to a Chipotle that is 276 miles from us, so all of my sales at market have to be local or I lose my exemption and will have to hire 5 people to take care of the paper work and then I just go out of business. So no, I can not sell to you. What is more, all the vendors here are part of the CSA, so no one here can sell to you. You have a nice day now!

No Surprises-It is Locally — Global

What we have in Tester is local Agenda 21 Sustainable Development. In sum, control over all human impact on the environment. Everything will need to be within the food shed, and if you are outside of the food shed, too bad for you. It is a great way to surveille and monitor food production and distribution. And you still fall under the broad based reason to believe of the Secretary with the Tester amendment. If the Secretary, meaning the head of the FDA or HHS thinks you may have a problem, or deems what you produce to be high risk, you will be shut down until they say you can begin again. All of your product is subject to mandatory recall; that is why you have to keep records of everyone you sell to. And you will have to register as a facility under the Bioterrorism Act of 2002, referred to as Sec 415 throughout the bill. (Knock knock—this is premises identification as in NAIS)

So please, do not tell me how great the Tester Amendment is, and that the expansive powers being granted to the DoD, DHS, HHS, FDA and USDA in this bill will be helpful to small farmers and local food production and make my food safe. Wake up and smell the coffee!!! Oh, wait. The only state that could produce coffee within 275 miles of itself, is Hawaii. Never mind. Wake up, and smell the tyranny, please.

(The best thing to do right now is to call the members of the House Ways and Means Committee as well as your own Representative and tell them they MUST blue slip S. 510. While I know it gets frustrating to call the Congress critters, the more they know that we know, the better the chance at slowing down the destruction they have planned for us. The switchboard number for Congress is 202-224-3121.)

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Food & the Interstate Commerce Clause

05-24-2010 6:40 pm – Derry Brownfield

Derry Brownfield, legendary cattleman, rancher and talk radio host, is heard daily across America bringing his common sense approach to listeners. The farmers' champion and a passionate constitutionalist, Derry takes on big government, mega-corporations, and environmental extremists. From the stock market to the stock yards, from greedy oil companies to the everyday concerns of his loyal audience, no topic is too hot to handle for Derry, who is called "the voice of the heartland". Born during the Great Depression, Derry says we would all be better off if we applied what he learned at a tender age: The best place to find a helping hand is at the end of your own arm!

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) says it plans to drop the program called the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). I’ve been studying the antics of Washington bureaucrats for 50 years and I know this is just another ploy to give farmers and ranchers a feeling of security, when all the while they are in the process of coming back with a much more draconian plan. The name has been changed and descriptive words have been eliminated and replaced with other objectives, but government continues to push towards turning the control of our livestock industry over to the multinational meat packers. The coyotes howl along the trail but the wagons keep rolling along.

The USDA has only put a new saddle on the same old horse. The program is no longer called NAIS, the new name is “ANIMAL DISEASE TRACEABILITY FRAMEWORK.”

The original document explaining NAIS consisted of 1200 pages, while this new version on traceability is only 7 pages of questions and answers. Our government is doing everything within its power to force this plan upon us in order to be in compliance with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). We are being told this new plan will be a kinder, gentler state-run program; however we will still have premise registration, although the word PREMISE has been changed to “UNIQUE LOCATION IDENTIFIER.”

The government is also trying to force sale-barns to tag all cows with the “840” tags. “840” indicates the animal originated in the United States. This is to keep us in compliance with the OIE. The United States is no longer in charge of its own policies, rather we are obliged to follow directives of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Food & Agricultural Organization (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO), including the Codex Alimentarius and the International Plant Protection Convention. These are all agencies of the United Nations.

I have not researched other states, but in Missouri the State Veterinarian’s office began coercing sale-barn owners to attach “840” tags in all cows going through their facilities. Russell Wood states: “This is nothing but a back door approach to NAIS PREMISE registration. This sale-barn approach was an obvious attempt to assign PREMISE numbers to unsuspecting sellers and buyers whether they wanted to join the “VOLUNTARY” program or not. Missouri has a law stating: “The State Department of Agriculture is prohibited from mandating NAIS PREMISE registration on Missouri livestock producers.” By changing the name of the program from NAIS to “ANIMAL DISEASE TRACEABILITY FRAMEWORK” and changing “PREMISES” to “UNIQUE LOCATION IDENTIFIER” the law apparently becomes void.”

In December, some Missouri sale-barns began using the NAIS tags. The barn owners said they had been instructed by the Missouri Department of Agriculture to apply these “840” tags to every cow unloaded at the sale barn. After showing them the law prohibiting the state from doing what they had enticed the barn owners to do, a hearing was held in the State Capital to see if the State Veterinarian was abiding by Missouri law. The Missouri State Veterinarian, Taylor Woods, testified that they had no official written policy on the use of the “840” tags. The state officials had no jurisdiction over the barn owners and was pushing the United Nation’s agenda through intimidation.

We have been told by government officials that this new approach is going to eliminate any producer that does not have livestock going into interstate commerce. Except for Kansas, Nebraska, and perhaps Colorado, practically all cattle born in the state move across state lines. Missouri for example has one of the largest mother cow herds in the nation – but has no feedlot or slaughter facilities, so about 100% of the calves born in Missouri eventually cross state lines.

To understand why the USDA is pushing the “Interstate Commerce Clause” let’s understand the 1942 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Wickard vs Filburn. Claude Wickard was the Secretary of Agriculture at that time and Roscoe Filburn was a wheat grower. Under FDR’s NEW DEAL farmers were allowed to sell a certain amount of wheat. Filburn grew more wheat than he was allowed to market in Interstate Commerce, so the wheat produced in excess of his quota he fed to his livestock. Filburn was found guilty of violating the Interstate Commerce Clause because he fed the wheat to his own livestock; wheat that he had produced on his own land.

Wickard assessed a penalty against him but Filburn refused to pay. The Supreme Court ruled against Filburn saying: “If he had not fed the wheat to his livestock he would have been forced to purchase wheat for livestock feed, and that wheat would have crossed state lines, therefore he was involved in Interstate Commerce.” Based upon these facts, if this new “DISEASE TRACEABILITY” plan goes into effect and a farmer butchers his own calf, he is in violation of the Interstate Commerce Clause. Had he not butchered his own calf, he would have been forced to go to the market and buy beef which has crossed state lines.

Do you see the restraints big government is trying to place on animal agriculture? Even a local organic farmer, selling produce at a local Farmer’s Market, would be in violation of the Interstate Commerce Clause.

Big Agribusiness has taken control of the poultry and egg industry, the pork and milk industries; and if this new and improved DISEASE TRACEABILITY plan becomes law, everything a consumer purchases at the meat and dairy counter will be controlled by no more than a half-dozen large Agribusiness corporations. Our food supply, as we know it, will be a thing of the past.

(c) 2010 Derry Brownfield – All Rights Reserved

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Name Games with the USDA

By: Doreen Hannes

Doreen HannesBio

Doreen Hannes is the Director of Research for the National
Independent Consumers and Farmers Association (NICFA)
and is dedicated to weeding through the lies, half truths, and mis- and disinformation to
help people to understand the methods and propaganda being used to manipulate us….and to dig for the truth. As -civil-ization is predicated upon agriculture, the goal of those who would be our masters is to control the land, control the food, and thereby control the people….otherwise known as the global implementation of  Agenda 21. If we lose our ability to feed ourselves, we will not be able to fight against anything else. Doreen blogs at Truth
and you can listen to her radio show, Truth Farmer, at Liberty News Radio and read her articles at News with Views.

On May 11th, the USDA held the first of three public meetings on their “New
NAIS” program “Animal Disease Traceability”. The meeting began
at 8am with three power point presentations. California State Veterinarian,
Dr. Richard Breitmeyer gave the first presentation. This was the same presentation
he gave at the mid-March NIAA (National Institute of Animal Agriculture) meeting,
also held in Kansas City.

A little history is in order to understand the progression of this idea
for animal traceability. In the US, the first notable plan for identifying
animals was the NFAIP, along with FAIR, those being the National Farm Animal
Identification Program and Farm Animal Identification and Records. Then under
the Bush Administration there was the United States Animal Identification
Plan, with the NAIS, National Animal Identification System hot on it’s heels.
Now, they have “killed” NAIS, but are moving forward with the Animal
Disease Traceability plan, the ADT. The main difference here is that the USDA
is going to make a rule on the ADT to prescribe the “performance standards” for
traceability that the states MUST meet to engage in interstate commerce with
the ADT.

Breitmeyer’s presentation focused on the difficulties around tracing the
contacts of tubercular (and suspect) cattle in the state of California and
other states without the aid of an interoperable database covering all animals
and all movements. According to his presentation, the state of California
has approximately 57,500 known live cattle imports from Mexico per year. This
is significant in that more than 75% of all tuberculosis in cattle is of Mexican
origin. Breitmeyer lamented that when he began as a vet 25 years ago, the
US had nearly eliminated TB except for in small areas of northern Michigan
and northern Minnesota where the soil make up continues to keep TB in the
wildlife and therefore occasionally in cattle. Breitmeyer’s presentation was
actually quite a good illustration of many of the failed policies of the USDA
in disease control, the lack of quarantine at the borders chief among them.
Of course, he is a proponent of a NAIS style system because having all that
data available would make his job easier…At least on paper.

The second presentation was given by a very soft-spoken APHIS/VS (Veternary
Services) representative, Dr. TJ Mayer. He stressed that the “theme” for
the development of the “new” program is “collaboration”.
Those to be affected must be involved in the process of developing the solution
for the lack of traceability that now exists— particularly in cattle. Cattle
are the primary focus for this new plan, and the methodology for bringing
cattle to 95% traceability back to the point of identification in 2 business
days is dependent on “collaboration” in developing the processes
in our states. (Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?) Mayer also illustrated that
the desired traceability would be implemented gradually through partnerships
of stakeholders and building upon the requirements outlined in the rule that
is to be developed for criteria that states must meet for interstate commerce.

The third presentation was by Becky Brewer (Oklahoma State Vet) and the
apparent lead member of the newly established “Regulatory Working Group”.
Dr. Brewer related the thinking of the Regulatory Working Group on the measurable
outcomes of the ‘traceability’ standards to arrive at 95% of “all” animals
traced back to the ‘traceability unit’ within 2 business days. Sounds just
like the NAIS Business Plan, doesn’t it? Brewer stated, “In government
speak, “all” doesn’t mean all.” This may explain why the USDA
kept insisting that when opponents of NAIS cited documents verbatim, we were “spreading
misinformation”. Evidently the English language is a linguistic and statistical
anomaly in the hands and mouths of bureaucrats.

There were no question and answer sessions after the presentations. Instead
every table was given a USDA facilitator and three segments of questions to
answer regarding how we might achieve the desired outcome of getting animals
id’d back to the ‘traceability unit’ within their timeframes. The tables were
marked with species placards and there were at least five cattle tables, three
swine, two poultry, one sheep and goat, and one “other species”.

When I entered the room I noticed that Kenny Fox of R CALF USA was at a
cattle table and I failed to notice the “other species” table so
I sat at the sheep and goat table. There were no people at the poultry tables.
The cattle tables were quite full, and all of the reporters were sitting at
the ‘other species’ table, so I thought I would just sit at the empty sheep
and goat table.

When the facilitating began, I was blessed with three USDA representatives
at my table, where all the other tables only had one. I shared the table with
one sheep broker from New Mexico. He deals in 20 to 30,000 head of sheep annually
mostly exported to Mexico and was quite content with the Scrapie program.
This program identifies breeding animals back to the flock of origin with
a number assigned to the flock manager and not the land the animals are held
on. It also allows for tattoos as an alternate form of official id for interstate
commerce, and does not use RFID tags, although it could in the future.

The USDA representatives at my table were not particularly interested in
hearing about how the failed agricultural policies have created a problem
that the USDA would now like all of us to ‘partner’ with them to solve. They
did take copious notes, and were quite proficient in ‘mirroring’ my statements
while slightly adjusting them to fit their desired outcome more handily.

At the end of each of the three segments, a representative from each table
stood and gave the ‘report’ from the table on that segment. The consensus
of the cattle groups were that only breeders should be identified, RFID tags
should be avoided, back tags should continue to be used for feeders and slaughter
cows, and a NAIS styled system would not work at all.

The USDA is currently promoting the use of ‘bright’ tags for cattle. These
are very similar to brucellosis tags in numbering and appearance. However,
when the only question and answer segment of the day took place and Neil Hammerschmidt
(one of the main authors of NAIS) gave most of the answers, he made it clear
that the USDA still wants to ‘aggressively’ pursue the use of 840 tags.

The bottom line about the entire meeting is that the USDA will try to have
a draft rule ready in June from the “Regulatory Working Group”.
This rule will define the “performance standards” that are to be
met by the states to engage in interstate commerce. The USDA plans to publish
this proposed rule in November or December of 2010, allow a 90-day comment
period, and finalize the rule (make it law) from 8-10 months after the comment
period is complete. There may be different requirements under these performance
standards by species, and some potentially exempted sectors or movements.
There is admitted concern from the USDA and their friends that incentives
and disincentives for states must be expressed clearly and not be too “heavy
handed”. In other words, if a state meets compliance levels in hogs and
not cattle, the hogs should not be refused access to interstate commerce.

It appears to me that we must proactively engage our state legislators
to statutorily define requirements for interstate livestock movement and not
allow the Departments of Agriculture the leeway to cooperate with the USDA
to achieve the goals of the USDA as those goals are still NAIS oriented. The
USDA will not dismantle the National Premises Repository although Hammerschmidt
stated that if a state were to want to withdraw all of their participants,
they could do so. Also, according to Hammerschmidt, they still want to move
‘aggressively’ to 840 tags as official identification along with electronic
Certificates of Veterinary Inspection.

The onus of implementing the graduated Animal Disease Traceability program
rests squarely on the individual states. Either the states will define those
standards statutorily or the USDA will bring about their final desires incrementally
through the regulatory process.

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Judge Rules in Favor of Amish in Animal ID Case

Note: Facts, the application for the grant money to operate the program requires that Wisconsin abide by the terms set forth under the Federal Register. In which the participation must be voluntary and a producer can op-out. The state has breached their contract and are subject to Federal Administrative Relief which may result in repayment of all grant moneys. The USDA also failed to provide warning to the state that it may be sued, under requirements of Article 1 Sec.8 Clause 1 regarding grants under the authority of the General Welfare Clause. See annotated Supreme Court rulings for details.

Paul M. Griepentrog

A decision has finally been made in the highly anticipated case in which the State of Wisconsin was trying to sue an Amish man for not following Wisconsin’s Livestock Premise Registration law. On Tuesday, Clark County Circuit Court Judge Jon Counsell ruled that Emanuel Miller Jr. of Loyal, Wisconsin does have a ‘religious right’ to be exempt from the law, which requires anyone who keeps, houses, or co-mingles livestock to register their premises with the state.

It was noted during court proceedings that the Amish do provide their names and addresses when they buy and sell livestock, and the judge said that doing so should be enough for the state to track down an animal in the event of a disease.

Prosecutors also cited a recent pseudorabies case in Clark County as an example of why the premises law is needed. But Judge Counsell said the state failed to show why alternatives, that would not affect Miller’s religious freedom, would not be just as effective.

The Amish believe the requirement infringes on their religious believes because it could eventually result in the tagging of all animals, or the ‘Mark of the Beast.’ But prosecutors felt with mandatory premise ID, the process of tracking down potentially at-risk farms would be much easier if there were an animal disease. The issue of “government ease” fell short in court to the issue of “religious rights.”

Meanwhile, Paul McGraw, the assistant state veterinarian with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture’s animal health division says he expects the state to appeal the ruling. A case of this nature regarding a state case, is normally a wearing down of the accused, which judges also tire of.

The NAIS, requiring premises registration, was a program instigated by the USDA. Every state was offered “grant” funds as an incentive to enforce a full mandatory NAIS with arrests and fines for noncompliance. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection has received over twelve million dollars to tighten the screws on all Wisconsin livestock producers. Their enforcements are the most ruthless of any state with many other pending cases. Their grant moneys are also the largest considering the number of livestock producers in the state.

Wisconsin has been used by USDA as an example of strict enforcements for the nation. Additionally increasing the weakened position of Wisconsin, national resistance to NAIS caused Sec. Vilsack on Feb. 5, to announce the NAIS program was discontinued. Without the backing of federal policy, judicial decisions by Wisconsin are predicted to be very problematic for the state. The Miller case is the first court decision since USDA withdrew the program.

On Feb 5 Vilsack stated that one of the reasons for terminating the NAIS program was that, “USDA had gotten a failing grade on NAIS” and that, “Terminating the program would help overcome some of the mistrust caused by NAIS.” It appears Dr. McGraw still has not arrived to where Sec. Vilsack is, serious work on the Wisconsin “mistrust” issue.

The case at one time was referred to as the state’s first such NAIS prosecution, until a Polk County judge ruled in October that Patrick Monchilovich of Cumberland violated the four-year-old rule after he refused to register his premises. He was ordered to pay a civil forfeiture and court costs. (This was before the USDA Feb. 5 announcement.)

McGraw and Wisconsin have been tossed under the bus by USDA and now Clark County Circuit Court Judge Jon Counsell just tossed them under a convoy of galloping Amish steel-wheeled buggies.

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R-Calf Praises USDA for Decision to Abandon NAIS

For Immediate Release

February 8, 2010Contact:
Shae Dodson-Chambers, Communications Coordinator
Phone: 406-672-8969; e-mail:

Group Praises USDA for Decision to Abandon NAIS

Washington, D.C. — In a letter sent Friday to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, R-CALF USA President/Region VI Director Max Thornsberry, a Missouri veterinarian, thanked the United States’ top agriculture official for his “receptiveness to the interests of U.S. cattle farmers and ranchers.” On Friday, Vilsack announced he was revising his agency’s prior policy on animal disease traceability and would begin developing a new approach. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) prior policy was the National Animal Identification System (NAIS), a policy vehemently opposed by R-CALF USA and its numerous state affiliates.

“The Secretary has signaled he is going back to the drawing board to develop a new system that does not infringe upon the rights and privileges of U.S. cattle farmers and ranchers as did NAIS,” Thornsberry said. “This is exactly what we’ve been urging USDA to do for the past five years. Our organization has expended considerable resources trying to put a halt to NAIS, and we’re pleased that our members’ efforts have finally come to fruition.”

Thornsberry said NAIS was conceived and supported by international trade organizations, ear tag manufacturers and multinational meatpackers, and was all about controlling cattle farmers and ranchers and cattle markets, not about controlling and preventing animal diseases.

“Friday’s announcement is a major victory for independent cattle producers, as it marks the first time in a very long time that USDA did not suppress the interests of cattle producers in order to accommodate the self-interests of the dominant meatpackers and their allies,” he said.

R-CALF USA Animal Identification Committee Chair Kenny Fox said that the 8-point plan R-CALF USA submitted last year to USDA as an alternative to NAIS fits within the new framework described by Vilsack on Friday. Fox also serves as president of the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association (SDSGA), one of R-CALF USA’s largest affiliate organizations.

“Our plan called for the control of disease-related animal identification databases to be vested with state and tribal animal health officials, flexibility in the use of preexisting animal identification devices such as brucellosis tags, no federally mandated premises registration and a renewed emphasis in preventing the introduction of diseases at our borders, all of which are consistent with what USDA announced on Friday,” said Fox.

Thornsberry said this victory was made possible by the thousands of U.S. cattle farmers and ranchers who stood steadfast against NAIS despite the millions of dollars that USDA provided to states and many conventional agricultural organizations in an attempt to enroll as many independent cattle producers as possible into the flawed NAIS system.

“I couldn’t be prouder of R-CALF USA and our state affiliates that never waivered an inch against the extreme pressure applied to our industry by USDA under the previous Administration, by the multinational meatpackers and by the conventional industry trade associations with close ties to both the meatpacking industry and ear tag manufacturers,” he emphasized

“The next step will be to actually help USDA develop the details of this new approach to animal disease traceability, and we will remain directly involved to ensure that the interests of our nation’s independent cattle producers continue to be addressed in this process,” Fox concluded.

# # #

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 marketin! g 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 or, call 406-252-2516.

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Jolley: USDA Tries Mouth-To-Mouth On NAIS

The Associated Press misreported this morning that “The USDA Abandons Stalled Animal ID Program.” A press release issued last Friday by the USDA hints at another fate.

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack announced that USDA will develop a new, flexible framework for animal disease traceability in the United States, and undertake several other actions to further strengthen its disease prevention and response capabilities.

Did you understand that statement? The USDA, after a 15 city listening tour last summer, has decided listening is highly overrated. They seemed to understand, acknowledging hearing “a wide variety of comments during the listening tour.”

A document on USDA web site said, “Some people were in favor of NAIS, but the vast majority of participants were highly critical of the program. Some of the concerns and criticisms raised included confidentiality, liability, cost, privacy, and religion. There were also concerns about NAIS being the wrong priority for USDA, that the system benefits only large-scale producers, and that NAIS is unnecessary because existing animal identification systems are sufficient.”

So they’re trying to re-invent the program, make it more palatable to people who signaled their willingness to stand at the farm gate, armed and dangerous, to prevent any part of a government mandated NAIS from creeping into their business.

If the USDA has trouble reading the tea leaves, let Lorrie Morgan explain it to you.

To be more specific, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said, “After concluding our listening tour on the National Animal Identification System in 15 cities across the country, receiving thousands of comments from the public and input from States, Tribal Nations, industry groups, and representatives for small and organic farmers, it is apparent that a new strategy for animal disease traceability is needed. I’ve decided to revise the prior policy and offer a new approach to animal disease traceability with changes that respond directly to the feedback we heard.”

What part of no don’t you understand?

The feedback he was talking about was clear, painfully so. Excruciatingly obvious. As plain as the nose on an anteater’s face.

It was “No. Not now. Not ever.”

Most every small farmer and rancher responded with the kind of “cold, dead fingers” response that would gladden the heart of Charlton Heston. Not to repeat myself but I attended two listening sessions; Jeff City and Omaha. The one lone pro-NAIS speaker in Jeff City never finished his spiel. Fearing for his safety, he fled a very hostile audience in mid-speech. The Omaha crowd wasn’t nearly as angry but their message was the same.

It was “No. Not now. Not ever.”

But an ever optimistic Vilsack announced these basic tenets of an ‘improved’ animal disease traceability program. The new plan will –

* Only apply to animals moved in interstate commerce;
* Be administered by the States and Tribal Nations to provide more flexibility;
* Encourage the use of lower-cost technology; and
* Be implemented transparently through federal regulations and the full rulemaking process.

“One of my main goals for this new approach is to build a collaborative process for shaping and implementing our framework for animal disease traceability,” said Vilsack. “We are committed to working in partnership with States, Tribal Nations and industry in the coming months to address many of the details of this framework, and giving ample opportunity for farmers and ranchers and the public to provide us with continued input through this process.”

May I call on Lorrie Morgan, again?

The USDA will convene a forum with animal health leaders for the States and Tribal Nations to initiate a dialogue about ‘possible ways of achieving the flexible, coordinated approach to animal disease traceability we envision.’ Let’s hope they invite all the stakeholders and be prepared to duck and cover.

Chuck Jolley is a free lance writer, based in Kansas City, who covers a wide range of ag industry topics for and

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NAIS is one day closer to the regulatory grave

National Association of Farm Animal Welfare

Official APHIS Factsheet to Veterinary Services 2-5-10 Q & A

There are 7 pages of government prepared repetitive gobbledy gooking. Within the code verbiage are signs of things to come, and thankfully things to end.

It says nothing about dealing with the only disease that USDA says is costing the US dairy industry a $200,000,000 loss annually — Johne’s. No acknowledgment for a valid test method and a valid vaccination is on the horizon for Johne’s, the only costly cattle disease in the nation.

After today, the states that are prosecuting livestock producers for NAIS non-compliance will be enforcing the beating of a very dead mule. How will states incarcerate Amish who refuse to sign up their premises when the USDA ends premises enrollment??

What will happen to the thousands of government employees who are given grants to enroll premises in NAIS? What will they do for employment; perhaps line up and take turns beating the mule.

Facts remain; the lowest pooper-scooper in a remote dairy barn knows more about costly animal disease and the priority of issues than the marble halls of USDA. Pray that USDA can, possibly — get it, someday.

National Association of Farm Animal Welfare, 2-5-10

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Opinion: Out of whack things righted, once in Blue Moon

by Richard Oswald – 1/31/2010

Blue MoonYear in and year out, things here stay pretty much the same. We still have death and taxes. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west, and the North Star is always perfectly positioned above the neighbor’s barn.

But on rare occasions the finer aspects of nature (and people) become a bit less predictable.

The year ended in Langdon the same way it did in the rest of North America, with a Blue Moon. (That’s a full moon at both the beginning and the end of the month.)

It was that kind of year from start to finish. We had a late spring, an unusually cool growing season, rainfall that was nearly double the normal amount, an earthquake, and a difficult harvest followed by blizzards throughout December — all stuff that only happens once in a Blue Moon.

Dump The Pork TaxOnce in a blue moon folks like me get to thinking that some of the out-of-whack things in America might somehow be getting better for our food — and the people who raise it.

The pork checkoff election

A few years back a lot of us were giving high fives when U.S. Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman took the unusual step of allowing pork producers to decide whether or not to keep the pork check-off — a mandatory fee paid into a marketing fund each time a hog is sold.

Say No To NAISA majority of pork producers voted to repeal the check-off rather than continue funding the agenda of big pork processing corporations. That’s because packers and their best buddies had camouflaged themselves to look like producers instead of end-users.

Small producers were being sold down the river by big agribusiness.

Hog growers were working under contracts with the packers that were harsh and difficult to enforce. Hog raisers couldn’t find reliable markets, and those who tried to compete on their own with the big packers were giving up and leaving the farm in droves.

The revolt against the pork checkoff was one of those blue moon moments.

Glickman answered the will of the farmer, approved a referendum on the check-off, and when a vast majority of producers voted to end it, he certified the results. The check-off tax was dead.

Unfortunately, Glickman left town with the rest of the Clinton administration before the results of the referendum could be enacted. His Bush administration successor, Anne Veneman, set the election results aside, telling producers their voluntarily-funded checkoff project had now essentially become a mandatory federal tax.

For the most part we don’t get to vote on taxes in America. We only get to vote on the people in Congress who establish them. The pork check-off was different. It was voted in by the people who would pay it, and the same people voted it out (until Sec. Veneman intervened).

Sometimes the government just doesn’t seem to hear us very well. It happens over and over.

Mad cow disease

For example, U.S. beef producers wanted to certify their own beef as BSE (Mad Cow Disease) free. It seemed a reasonable request, since we were losing business outside the U.S. because other countries feared that they were importing BSE meat. But the big packers didn’t want that label because it would have allowed small producers to gain an advantage in exports, a coveted retail market.

Even though U.S. producers such as Creekstone Farms and Gateway Beef were going to test for BSE in every animal they sold, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said that only the government could test for BSE.

Of course, BSE didn’t come from U.S. beef, but from imports from Canada or Great Britain. The big meat packers didn’t want that to be accepted knowledge because beef imported from Canada and elsewhere can be a cheap source of profit.

Once in a blue moon things change, and “change” was the promise of the Obama campaign in 2008.

Things are definitely looking up, but change is easier to talk about than accomplish. When Mother Nature wants modification to the status quo she lets the chips fall where they may. When man alters things, he too often seeks a consensus of major players: titans of industry, bankers, ranking politicians, and the wealthy. They all want to be in the room together.

Guys like me are generally on the outside looking in, supplying at cost the pure basic commodities big business adulterates for profit.

National animal identification

That brings us to the National Animal Identification System.

The NAIS would require each farm animal to be tagged with a computer chip. Grassroots producers fought against mandatory animal ID throughout most of the Bush years. When President Obama was elected. there was celebration by farm groups because we thought NAIS was finally dead. Or was it?

Producers realized that NAIS ignored the real issues of food safety by putting small family farms at a disadvantage with big agribusiness. Under the NAIS proposal, a farmer with 50 cows and calves on pasture would have to tag all 100 animals.

But a feeder packer with a dozen 10,000 hog confinement buildings only had to report 12 numbers, one for each building. All that information was to be stored in a privately-operated database outside USDA with only “insiders” having access to the records.

NAIS never made sense. Virtually all food safety and pollution problems stem from imperfect processing and imported animals and food products (such as beef scraps from Uruguay), but the government was in effect saying small producers were mostly to blame. After all, NAIS was holding us to higher standards than the real food safety offenders. Animal ID was a way for corporations to shift the blame for their mistakes to farmers who had no control over what happened once their animals left the farm.

Producers geared up to fight NAIS the best they could by attending USDA listening sessions to testify against animal ID. Even when the testimony was overwhelmingly against NAIS, the USDA continued to move ahead with plans for implementation until some in Congress, like Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, were successful in cutting funding to the program.

Tester is a farmer, rancher and livestock owner who is also a U.S. Senator.

If money is the source of all evil, we definitely pulled NAIS up by the roots, persuading the House of Representatives to eliminate funds and the Senate to at least radically curtail them.

Or so we thought. Today, even with funding cut, government and corporate insiders are still talking about NAIS, waiting for their chance to bring it back to life.

I’ve heard that as our nation grows, we must all be willing to give up some of our rights for the good of all. I would agree that’s true when it comes to traffic lights or airport screening.

But food?

Big seed

These days it’s not too unusual for seed companies to sue each other. Lately a single seed company has gotten big enough to control 98 percent of the soybean seed market and 79 percent of corn.

The last time a single entity controlled that much seed was when Adam walked alone in the Garden.

That company, Monsanto, says it needs single-handed control and big profits to enable farmers to feed the hungry. Some farmers reply that all we really need to do our job is freedom of choice to buy seed without fear of economic retribution.

In a rare and uncommon turn of events, the Department of Justice has decided to investigate whether Monsanto’s unusual control of seed markets violates federal antitrust laws.

The last time the U.S. cracked down on this much corporate power was when Teddy Roosevelt played trustbuster 100 years back. That was many moons ago.

It used to be that rulemaking took place in the light of day.

For Americans, sightless regulators blinded by power have been a big problem in agriculture, banking, Wall Street, the futures markets, healthcare, energy… you name it.

But once in awhile, like now, if the problem is big enough, a little light from a Blue Moon is what is needed to start setting things right.

Richard Oswald farms and writes from his home near Langdon, Mo. His column regularly appears at Reprinted with permission.

The North Platte Bulletin – Published 1/31/2010
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16 Cattle and Farm Groups Urge Secretary Vilsack to Take a New Direction to Prevent Animal Disease Spread

Washington, D.C. — In a hand-delivered letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, sixteen groups called the agency’s practice of using inadequate international standards and the OTM Rule to leverage global export markets into conformity with weaker disease standards “deplorable.” The OTM Rule was implemented in 2007 and authorizes the importation into the U.S. of older Canadian cattle that have a higher-risk for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

The groups state they disagree with the “uncritical deference” that Vilsack has accorded the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), which recently designated both the U.S. and Canada as ‘controlled risk’ countries for BSE. According to a letter R-CALF USA received from Vilsack , the agency believes the OIE’s designation provides assurance that measures are in place in both countries to manage ‘any possible risk of BSE in the cattle population,’ and that cattle and beef can be ‘safely traded by both nations.’

But the groups state that USDA is wrong to rely on the weaker OIE standards and that Vilsack’s stated position is inconsistent with Congress’ mandate “to protect animal health and the health and welfare of the people of the United States by preventing the introduction into or spread within the United States of BSE.” The groups urged Vilsack to carry out his congressional mandate by rescinding the OTM Rule.

The groups state also that Vilsack’s position is directly contradicted by his agency’s own risk assessment model that predicts that under the OTM Rule, the U.S. “will introduce 19 BSE-infected cattle from Canada over the course of 20 years,” and two U.S. cattle would become infected. In addition, the groups state that USDA “estimates the cost to U.S. cattle producers, for the privilege of begin exposed to a heightened risk for BSE from Canadian cattle and beef, would be over $66 million per year (or approx. $1.3 million each week), for which no c! ompensation can be obtained from anyone.”

The letter states that the OTM Rule is a human and animal health issue. “Clearly, the OTM Rule is increasing the risk of introducing BSE into the U.S. from Canada, increasing the risk of infection of BSE in both U.S. cattle and in humans, and causing tens of millions of dollars in financial losses for U.S. cattle farmers and ranchers.”

Along with R-CALF USA, the following 15 organizations joined the letter to urge Vilsack to immediately rescind the OTM Rule: Buckeye Quality Beef Association (OH), Cattle Producers of Washington, Colorado Independent CattleGrowers Association, Independent Beef Association of North Dakota, Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska, Independent Cattlemen of Wyoming, Kansas Cattlemen’s Association, Kansas Farmers Union, Missouri Farmers Union, National Farmers Organization, Nebraska Farmers Union, Nevada Live Stock Association, Oregon Livestock Producers Association, Ozarks Property Rights Congress (MO), and the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association.

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