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On Friday, September 29th, 2006
we registered our Farm/Ranch!

Government Regulation

NCBA Supports USDA's Tightened BSE-Related Regulations

Terry Stokes, CEO, National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA), stated on Tuesday December 30, 2003 that his organization stands fully behind Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman's announcement of protection systems against BSE. He also applauded the Secretary's decision to speed up the creation and implementation of a National Animal Identification System. He and others within the NCBA leadership say "times change" with regard to issues like downer animals. But, how much is aimed at making beef safe and how much is aimed at establishing consumer confidence and export markets? "The food systems we had in place were working -- but, this has to do with consumer confidence and trading partners' confidence," says Chandler Keys, NCBA's vice president for public policy in the Washington, D.C., office. "It's a case of responding to our consumers and giving them what they need and want. It sends a signal into our cattle industry that husbandry practices are a top priority. We're in the food business." -- Clint Peck

National ID Among Tactics To Bolster BSE Readiness

Downer cattle are now banned from the U.S. food chain, and a national system of livestock ID is now on the fast track. Those were two of the measures announced yesterday by USDA Secretary Ann Veneman as additional safeguards to bolster U.S. defenses against BSE. Specifically, the moves include:

Effective immediately, USDA bans all downer cattle from the human food chain, but the BSE surveillance program will continue.

USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) inspectors will no longer mark cattle tested for BSE as "inspected and passed" until confirmation is received that the animals have tested negative. Upon publication in the Federal Register, USDA will declare as specified risk material (SRM) skull, brain, trigeminal ganglia, eyes, vertebral column, spinal cord and dorsal root ganglia of cattle more than 30 months of age and the small intestine of cattle of all ages. The rule thus prohibits their use in the human food supply. Federally inspected cattle slaughter facilities must develop and maintain procedures to remove, segregate and dispose of SRM to prevent it from entering the food chain. The information must be readily available for FSIS review. FSIS has also developed procedures for verifying the approximate age of cattle slaughtered in official establishments. State-inspected plants must have equivalent procedures in place.

Advanced meat recovery (AMR) is industrial technology that, when operated properly, removes muscle tissue from the bone of beef carcasses under high pressure without incorporating bone material. Such AMR product can be labeled as "meat." FSIS has previously had regulations in place that prohibit spinal cord from being included in products labeled as "meat."

Effective upon publication in the Federal Register, USDA will expand the prohibition to include dorsal root ganglia, the clusters of nerve cells connected to the spinal cord along the vertebrae column. In addition, because the vertebral column and skull in cattle 30 months and older will be considered inedible, it can't be used for AMR. In March 2003, FSIS initiated routine regulatory sampling for beef produced from AMR systems to ensure spinal cord tissue isn't present in this product.

A new interim final rule announced Dec. 30, 2003 stipulates that establishments must ensure process control through verification testing to ensure that neither spinal cord nor dorsal root ganglia is present in the product.

To ensure that portions of the brain are not dislocated into the tissues of the carcass as a consequence of humanely stunning cattle during the slaughter process, FSIS has banned air-injection stunning. "Mechanically separated" product is now prohibited for use in human food.

For more information please visit . -- Joe Roybal

Breaking News
Check Out For Electronic ID Training
If you're interested in a comprehensive, hands-on experience in electronic animal ID and traceback, you'll probably be interested in the KSU BEEF ID Academy. You can find out more about the two-day classes being held at four times this spring and summer by going to . The site was just launched today.

A cooperative venture between Kansas State University (KSU) and BEEF magazine, the KSU BEEF ID Academy is a two-day, intensive seminar to be held at the KSU ID Beef Facility in Manhattan, KS. The workshops will teach attendees specifically about the issues surrounding automatic ID and the conversion of the captured data into usable information.

The seminars, planned for June 2-3, June 14-15, July 19-20 and Aug. 2-3, will teach participants about current issues surrounding individual animal ID, proposed standards for individual animal ID, the basic components of an electronic ID system, how to select the optimum hardware, the principles of Statistical Process Control and how to apply the learned concepts to commercial software programs.
-- Joe Roybal


Posted Jan. 05, 2004

Wisconsin has lead role in livestock ID

The Associated Press

MADISON Federal grants have put Wisconsin in the lead in developing a livestock tracking system like one proposed nationally after the discovery of mad cow disease in Washington state, officials said.

The Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium, funded in part by $2.5 million in federal grants, has worked for three years to develop a livestock identification system for the state.

The goal is to make it possible to track the history of an animal within 48 hours something that officials say is impossible under current record-keeping practices.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman recently announced that in response to the discovery that a Holstein in Washington was infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, she has ordered that the development of a nationwide livestock identification system be expedited.

The USDA people have been looking at whats happening here as a model for what other states can do, said Robert Fourdraine, chief operating officer of the consortium, a coalition of livestock producers, farmers, and industry and academic experts.

Were pretty much at the forefront of what Secretary Veneman is talking about, and were in a very good position to get this system implemented in Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin consortium launched a voluntary program in the fall to register every location where livestock are kept.

Pending legislation would require the registration of premises by anyone who keeps cattle, bison, goats, swine and farm raised deer, as well as anyone who keeps more than 20 poultry animals and more than five horses.

Additional legislation would be required to create a system for assigning every animal a unique identification number.

We Must Avoid A Legislative Debacle On Animal ID
Congressmen Collin Peterson (D-MN), Mike Ross (D-AR) and Jim Walsh (R-NY) introduced H.R. 3787, the "National Farm Animal Identification and Records Act" (FAIR), which would implement a national animal identification (ID) system.

H.R. 3787 will require an animal ID system that will enable trace back of livestock from birth to slaughter within 48 hours. To address the privacy concerns of producers, the legislation provides an exemption from the Freedom of Information Act.

USDA's inability to identify or trace the cows in the BSE case in Washington state, and even the second case of bird flu in Delaware, are contributing to an understandable desire to act now rather than later.

But the industry needs to bear in mind that nearly everything done in Washington, D.C., has political overtones. The same can be said with national livestock ID.

The legislation is intended to cover all livestock species and, as such, there are some pretty distinct interest groups involved. The beef industry must be careful to avoid the kind of debacle akin to country-of-origin labeling (COOL) where a good idea gets pushed forward in a very bad bill. The industry must ensure that the legislation passed is one that embraces the industry's vision of how it should be implemented.

Legislators are going to want to move quickly but we must ensure that the timeline for implementation is realistic and allows for adjustments as lessons are learned. Thankfully, the industry already has invested years in putting the framework together. Now, the challenge is to make sure the framework used is ours.

The best news about legislation introduced up to this point is the recognition that this undertaking will require a form of government cost-sharing to implement (a one-time, $175-million appropriation is part of the House version of FAIR), and the 2005 Bush budget also had $33 million earmarked for national ID.
-- Troy Marshal and P. Scott Shearer

Pennsylvania Premises Identification

Premises identification will play an important role in Pennsylvania, allowing state veterinarians to effectively track and contain animal disease outbreaks, and helping producers gain access to restrictive foreign markets.


This Web page will be updated as more information on Pennsylvania’s system is available.  In the meantime, please use the following links and resources to gain a better understanding of premises identification.


NAIS Facts and Myths
The intent of this document is to provide factual information to livestock owners on frequently asked questions and statements made in regards to NAIS.


Although discussions on animal ID have taken place for many years and started well before 2002, a concerted industry led effort that started in 2002 resulted in the development of what is now referred to as the National Animal Identification System (NAIS).  More than 250 producers, industry representatives and animal health officials from all livestock species groups have been organized into various NAIS Species Working Groups and now provide advice to USDA on how the U.S. can best protect our livestock industry from a foreign animal disease.  This effort is ongoing and the species working groups are developing recommendations that are specific to each individual species.


The 2002 goal was to achieve a traceback system that can identify all animals and premises potentially exposed to an animal with a Foreign Animal Disease (FAD) within
48 hours after discovery.


Questions and Answers
Below is information that was prepared with the input of all livestock species groups in regards to questions and statements that have been published by media or asked by livestock owners.  The answers are based on the work plan that industry and livestock producers have provided to USDA, APHIS VS, which in turn USDA used to formulate the NAIS Strategic Plan.  The USDA strategic plan does not include all the details that species groups have provided.  For individuals to get a FULL understanding of the details about NAIS, they should also read the species working group recommendations.

  1. What is premises registration?
    Premises registration involves assigning a unique 7 character ID to a location where livestock are housed or kept (farms, markets, exhibitions, etc) and record contact information for that location.
  2. What information is collected to register a premises?
    To register a premises, either an address is needed or GEO information is needed to
    identify a location that does not have an address.  In addition, the type of premises is collected along with the contact information for the person most knowledgeable about the livestock at the location.  Contact information involves a farm name, name of a person and information on how to reach that person either via mail or phone.  In addition, states may request information such as type of species.
  3. Does a producer report GEO coordinates to register a premises?
    NO.  Most premises are registered using the postal address.  However, there may by locations that do not have an address.  In such cases GEO coordinates can be used.  States registering premises can obtain GEO coordinates by using driving directions provided by the person registering a premises.


  1. If I register my premises, can the government track me via satellite?
    NO.  A premises is a location on the map, and does not provide any tracking capability of either livestock or people living at that location.  The information associated with a premises is minimal and does NOT involve livestock ownership information.  As a matter of fact there are public internet websites available that already provide satellite pictures on most locations around the world.
  2. Why do all livestock premises need to be registered?
    With premises information available, in the case of an animal health emergency, animal health officials will have the ability to quickly assess the size and impact a disease may have on livestock in a particular area.  Appropriate action can be swiftly taken which will minimize the effects on ALL livestock owners in the affected area.  In addition, animal health officials will be able to inform the premises contacts in the affected area and provide information on effective measures to protect their livestock from the disease in question.

    Knowing all the locations and the type of livestock at a particular location and having the means to quickly reach a person knowledgeable about the livestock at that location will improve response time and limit the impact on many producers not affected by the disease.
  3. If I register my premises, will the government know how many animals I own and sell?
    NO.  Premises registration does not involve recording of animal ownership and reporting of numbers of livestock at a location.  Premises registration requires the name of a contact that is most knowledgeable about the livestock at a location.  This might be an owner of the livestock, owner of the facilities, or a person taking care of the animals that neither owns the animals nor facilities.  For example, a boarding stable that may have multiple owners of horses in the stable would get one premises ID for that location, and the premises contact would be the person managing the boarding stable.
  4. How is the premises information protected so it can only be used for the purpose it is intended?
    Any premises related information will be kept in a secure data base at the state and federal level.  Animal tracking data will be maintained at the state or private level.  Access to this very specific information will only be provided to state and federal animal health veterinarians.  Industry has been adamant that information stored in NAIS is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act and is not shared between inter government agencies.  Individual states have passed laws to protect premises and animal ID information and USDA has provided language to legislators to protect information collected under NAIS when and if the program becomes nationally mandatory.
  5. Will NAIS require that every livestock owner will have to microchip their animals?
    NO.  Individual species groups are have made recommendations in regards to the type of official ID devices that can be used to uniquely identify animals IF official ID is needed.  ONLY the cattle industry has recommended RFID ear tags for cattle that include an RFID chip.  None of the other species groups have recommended that RFID devices be used solely.  USDA has NOT endorsed any particular technology and remains technology neutral.
  6. Will NAIS require every animal on the farm to receive an individual animal ID?
    NO.  The goal of NAIS is not to identify every animal.  Animal ID or group ID can be used to provide traceability for those livestock and movements that pose the greatest risk of spreading a disease.  Each individual species working group is identifying the types of movement that would require some form of animal ID.  In all cases, animals that are born and raised on the farm would not need ANY form of official ID unless they moved from the farm.  Depending on the reason for movement it may or may not require some form of official ID.  For example, cattle moving from pasture to pasture within a state may not need any official ID.  However cattle moving from a farm to an exhibition would need some form of official ID.  Animals leaving the farm for custom slaughter and personal consumption would not need to be officially identified.


  1. Can the animals that receive an RFID chip as proposed in NAIS be tracked via satellite?
    There are many RFID technologies available today for various uses.  Most are not compatible with each other.  The proposed RFID standards for cattle has limited read range (<4 ft), and does not provide the capability for tracking via satellite or greater distances.
  2. Will NAIS require that every movement be reported to a government database?
    No.  Species working groups are providing recommendations as to which movements are most important in the spread of diseases (check with each species group recommendation for specifics).  Currently, there are requirements for reporting movement of livestock between states (interstate movement) and there may also be requirements of livestock movement within certain states (intrastate movement) For example, branding states have movement reporting requirements already.  In addition, USDA Secretary Johanns announced in 2005 that all animal movement data will be maintained privately by industry or states, and USDA will need access to this information in the case of an animal disease.
  3. What are the anticipated costs to livestock owners to participate in NAIS?
    It is understood by participants working on the NAIS recommendations that there will be costs to producer to participate in NAIS.  However, all those participating felt that if due diligence was used; the benefits of having an NAIS system would outweigh the costs. As far as what costs livestock owners could expect:

    Depending on the state there may or may not be a fee for registering a premises.  In addition, IF animals require some form of official ID there may be costs associated with obtaining an ID device and applying that device before the animal leaves the farm.  Many livestock owners already use some type of ID device for herd management purposes.  It is envisioned that those types of ID devices can be replaced with some that will meet official ID requirements.  In those cases, livestock owners would have some offsetting costs.  For those species that may use RFID devices, livestock owners would not have to invest in equipment to read RFID ear tags since the recommendations from industry and USDA include that the individual animal ID number also needs to be visible on the ID device, so livestock owners can manually record those numbers.

    In addition there may be costs associated with reporting livestock movements.  Mechanisms will be put in place to either report movements by paper or electronically.

    Most livestock species working groups have recommended that only the receiver needs to report movement. It is also recognized that most livestock movement reporting can be incorporated in existing systems producers already use for farm management.  (i.e. DHIA system, breed registries, animal health tests, etc)
  4. Will NAIS become mandatory by 2009?
    Industry realizes that implementing NAIS is a major undertaking and will require many years.  The original proposed dates were based on recommendations by various industry groups made in 2003 and 2004.  The draft documents that USDA released for public comment outlined timelines for possible mandatory implementation of individual components of NAIS.  However, these dates were only an estimate, and input regarding the program is still being received.  Since the process of obtaining input and funding have taken longer then anticipated, it is highly unlikely that the proposed timelines can be met.  There are currently no efforts underway for rule making for a mandatory program.  The current voluntary status allows USDA, producers and industry to work out the system details and to continue to measure progress being made If USDA initiates a rule making process (which has not happened yet) and barring any animal health emergency, it would take USDA at least 2 years to complete mandatory implementation of any components.  States may choose to proceed individually in implementing components of NAIS at the state level. 


  1. In the event of an animal disease emergency, USDA may need to take steps to implement action to address the situation.


Additional Information

Premises Identification Essential to Animal Health and Safety - Secretary Wolff’s June column

National Animal Identification System information – USDA’s official NAIS Web site

PAFarms Premises Identification Project – Information pertaining to recent mailing effort to identify livestock locations in Pennsylvania


For more information contact:

Ron Miller at 717-772-2852.