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 second installment of our NAIS Opposition Blitz, we explore how the costs of NAIS will worsen the ongoing and long-run lack of profitability for independent U.S. cattle producers:

* According to USDA’s own data, the average return to U.S. cattle producers for the past 12 years (1996-2007) was a loss of $493.87 per bred cow per year. When only operating costs, and not total costs of production, were calculated, the loss per bred cow per year was still $6.42 during this period. Therefore, any production cost increases caused by NAIS would accelerate the exodus of U.S. cattle producers, whom have already exited the industry at a rate of 19,000 cattle operations per year during the past 12 years.

This information is available from a USDA Economic Research Service reporter titled “Cow/Calf Production Costs and Returns Per Bred Cow, 1996-2007, Data Sets,” and can be accessed at http://www.ers.usda.gov/data/CostsandReturns/testpick.htm.

Another report, titled “Cattle, USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, Mt An 2-1 (1-97) backs up this information. This report is available at: http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/nass/Catt//1990s/1997/Catt-01-31-1997.pdf.

Additional information is available in a report titled “Farms, Land in Farms, and Livestock Operations: 2008 Summary, USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, Sp Sy 4(09), February 2009, at 14, located at:

http://usda.mannliv.cornell.edu/usda/current/FarmLandIn/FarmLandIn-02-12-2009.pdf.

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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 www.r-calfusa.com or, call 406-252-2516.