Browsing Posts tagged NAIS destroy small farms

The Milkweed

Dairy’s best marketing info and insight
P.O. Box 10, Brooklyn, WI 53521 – (608) 455-2400 (c) 2002 – 2008 The Milkweed all rights reserved

by John Bunting

$9,995.00? $9,995.00??? NINE THOUSAND,    NINE HUNDRED, NINETY FIVE DOLLARS?????    On December 28, 2009, critics of USDA’s    goofy plans to mandate radio-frequency identification    devices (RFIDs) in all livestock got just the fodder    they need to set livestock country afire in protest:    the price tag for this absurd government mandate —    the National Animal Identification System (NAIS).    Forget USDA’s “cost-benefit” analysis claiming    that computer-chipped livestock ear tags would    cost about $3 to $5 dollars apiece. The cost of those    ear tags, even when purchased in minimum lots of    100, is peanuts, compared to the accompanying    hardware necessary to use those ear tags.

$9,995.00. That’s the “bundled startup kit” cost offered with a discount of $1,905.36, when compared to the costs of the components in the “startup kit,” if    those items were purchased separately.

$9,995.00 out-of-pocket costs so livestock producers    may comply with USDA’s intended mandate to require all livestock in the U.S. to be monitored with ear tags containing computer chips? In Missouri, for example, a hotbed of anti-NAIS, the average beef cattle operator has 35 head. In these money-losing times for beef ranchers, how can Uncle Sam demand livestock raisers shell out a minimum of $9,995 for a “startup kit” for this foolishness.

The December 28, 2009 press release said:
“Eriginate™ Corporation announced today the    approval of its eTattoo™ tag by the United States    Department of Agriculture (USDA). The approval    marks the first ultra-high radio frequency identification    tag (UHF RFID) and the first non-low frequency    tag (LF) to be approved for use with the ‘840’    Animal Identification Number (AIN).”

This private electronic devise is approved by    the USDA for use in the controversial National Animal Identification System (NAIS) program. USDA has promoted this program as a winning solution for everyone in animal agriculture.

Many persons in animal agriculture have objected for many reasons, including religious objections.

USDA has posted a cost/benefit analysis available at: http://animalid.aphis.usda.gov/nais/naislibrary/
documents/plans_reports/NAIS_overview_report.pdf

In the overview cost/benefit analysis, USDA explains the “Economic benefits in both the    domestic and international marketplace resulting    from enhanced traceability may be greater than the    cost savings realized during animal disease control    and eradication efforts.”

On page 5 of this same document, USDA    states, ” Tags and tagging costs vary among cattle    producers with 50 head from $3.30 to $5.22 per cow,    depending on current identification practices.” Well,    that cost/analysis is not exactly correct because the    eartags are the only low-cost element in the system.    In addition to the tags you need the reader or    scanner.

eTattoo™ conveniently has a “starter” kit.

$9,995!!! That “startup kit costs    $99.95 per animal!!!

This kit would be the basic requirement for a    small family dairy of say 50 milking cows. Replacement tags, and they certainly will be necessary, are a low $395 per hundred.

eTattoo™ claims, “Tags will accommodate    handwritten management numbers.” What exactly    is missing here? Anyone might think these fancy    tags would eliminate the need for “handwritten management    numbers.” What will government bureaucrats    and their anointed corporate beneficiaries conjure    up next?

Get yours while supplies last at:    http://www.etattootag.com

Company contact information:
Mailing address:
eriginate Corporation
PO Box 189
LeRoy, MN 55951-0189

Phone: (785) 694-3468
E-mail: Info@eriginate.com
Web site: www.etattootag.com

Harmful to small & medium farmers

Is USDA intentionally trying to destroy the nation’s small and medium livestock producers? USDA ultimately intends to mandate electronic livestock identification. Few small/medium livestock producers will be able to afford $10,000 for such technology. The margins in livestock have generally been negative. USDA has misrepresented costs for the NAIS program.

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 www.dailyyonder.com. Reprinted with permission.

The North Platte Bulletin – Published 1/31/2010
Copyright (c) 2010 northplattebulletin.com – All rights reserved.
Flatrock Publishing, Inc. – 1300 E 4th St., Suite F – North Platte, NE 69101
No Corporate Media
Copyright (c) 2003 – 2010 northplattebulletin.com
All rights reserved. Flatrock Publishing, Inc.
1300 E 4th St., Suite F
North Platte, NE 69101

The Fight for America’s Farms in Wisconsin: Marti Oakley Reports

“One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that ‘an unjust law is no law at all’.” (Martin Luther King – Letter from Birmingham Prison, Alabama)

Wisconsin’s “war” against agriculture — is it the blueprint for a NAIS nation?

It looks like the war of the elites against American agriculture is starting in Wisconsin. Marti Oakley, of The PPJ Gazette, reports from the front lines:

That M on the police might as well stand for Mars -- ya gotta wonder if aliens are behind this undermining of human life support systems -- also known as.... farms.

That M on the cops might as well stand for Mars — you really have to wonder if aliens are behind this undermining of human life support systems — also known as…. farms. I mean what group of human beings in their right mind would do this to themselves? Great pic from Deesillustrations.com

The first thing they did when they got the authority to write rules… was to grant themselves the authority to conduct warrantless searches. Wisconsin is in the process of coercing farmers and backyard producers … into NAIS, and the accompanying Premises ID program, by threatening to withhold any of the licenses they control.” Paul Griepentrog

In the course of researching various topics, running down leads on information and ferreting out the plans behind the public propaganda used to infringe on one right after another, I sometimes stumble across someone who has so much verifiable information, I am left astounded. This was the case when I happened across a gentleman farmer named Paul Griepentrog while researching the laws and bills about Premises ID and the National Animal Identification System (NAIS).

I already knew the mandatory law had been bought and paid for in Wisconsin through the use of a USDA “cooperative agreement” to the tune of $35 million.

In a recent interview I asked Paul to answer a few questions about what is really happening to Wisconsin residents who are being forced onto these illegal programs:

Q: Does the Animal Health Protection Act of 2003 actually authorize the Animal Identification System or Premises ID?

Will future history books tell the truth of what went down in America in the first decade of the 21st century?

Will future history books tell the truth of what went down in America in the first decade of the 21st century?

A:There is nothing in that bill giving them authority to create or establish the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). That law has been misquoted saying that it is the authority for NAIS. We have repeatedly sent letters to USDA and Tom Vilsack asking him to show the section of that law that gives the authority but he refuses to answer or acknowledge the letters.

Q: Has the USDA, in collusion with the Wisconsin AG department, threatened any farms that you know of?

A: Dwayne Brander on behalf of Dr. McGraw, Assistant State Veterinarian, goes out to farms telling them that if they don’t renew or register their premises in the State of Wisconsin they will file suit against them for failing to comply, using the county DA and calling it a civil forfeiture.

Wisconsin is in the process of coercing farmers and backyard producers in an effort to force them onto NAIS and the accompanying Premises ID program by threatening to withhold any of the licenses they control and would refuse to give the license unless you signed up.

Q: Is there a part of the law in Wisconsin that allows for fines and imprisonment based on the sole allegations of these agencies or representative personnel from USDA or DATCP in Wisconsin?

A: Here is section 95 from the Wisconsin bill implementing the “voluntary” NAIS/Premises ID law:

CHAPTER 95

ANIMAL HEALTH

95.23 Disease investigation and enforcement.

95.23(1)

(1) Authorized inspectors and agents of the department may enter at reasonable times any premises, building or place to investigate the existence of animal diseases or to investigate violations of or otherwise enforce the laws relating to animal health. Any animals or materials suspected of being infected may be examined or tested. No person shall obstruct or interfere with such investigation or enforcement work, or attempt to do so, in any manner, by threat or otherwise.

95.23(2)

(2) Upon request of an authorized inspector or agent of the department,sheriffs and police officers shall assist in the enforcement of the laws relating to animal health.

95.99 Penalties.

95.99(1)

(1) Any person who violates this chapter, or an order issued or a rule adopted under this chapter, for which a specific penalty is not prescribed shall, for the first offense, be fined not more than $1,000; and for any subsequent offense fined not less than $500 nor more than $1,000, or imprisoned not more than 6 months or both.

95.99(2)

(2) The department may seek an injunction restraining any person from violating this chapter or any rule promulgated under this chapter.

95.99(3)

(3) A person who violates this chapter or any rule promulgated or order issued under this chapter, for which a specific penalty is not prescribed,may be required to forfeit not less than $200 nor more than $5,000 for the first offense and may be required to forfeit not less than $400 nor more than $5,000 for the 2nd or subsequent offense committed within 5 years of an offense for which a penalty has been assessed under this section. A forfeiture under this subsection is in lieu of a criminal penalty undersub.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Q: Do citizens have the right to demand a full disclosure of the exact laws and basis under which USDA and Wisconsin have charged them? Is there any defense against these attacks?

A:There seems to be none. In the cooperative agreement it states all applicable federal laws shall apply. There are certain major State and Federal Constitutional issues that these laws are in conflict with.

Q: Who exactly is asking for this information?

A: The Department of Agriculture, State of Wisconsin administered by Assistant State Veterinarian, Dr. Paul McGraw; both knowing this has nothing to do with livestock or food safety. This comes from The World Trade Organization and their trade program OIE. http://www.oie.int/eng/en_index.htm World Organization Animal Health.

Q: Where is the information stored? For what purpose?

Are rich folk buying up stock in tag making companies

Are rich folk buying up stock in tag making companies

A: Initially intake is at state level, and then it moves through forms records management plan. There are different steps on how they process this information. From everything I read, a disease outbreak would give state, federal and international interest’s access.

Q: Who is storing the information?

A:Wisconsin Department of Agriculture and then to Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium with (WLIC) as final repository in Canada. The WLIC is comprised of various agriculture groups, breed associations and companies selling RFID tags.

Rep. Obey & Sen. Kohl helped to get WLIC started and moved the data base to Canada. The head of WLIC initially was Gary Tauchen who is now a Wisconsin representative and sitting on the house AG committee.

In my own case, I have been registered twice after the fire number on my property changed. Once under the original number and my name and again under the newly assigned number and my farm name; I did not register for Premises ID on either occasion and was signed up without my knowledge or consent.

Q: If the WLIC is listed as the last repository of data mined information, how did files on Wisconsin agricultural properties end up being stored in Canada?

A:WLIC with the help of Rep. Obey and Sen. Kohl although I don’t know for sure how this was accomplished. The intention was to avoid any Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request or open information requests until they passed the 2008 Farm Bill and included a provision in that bill saying that these files would not be available to FOIA requests.

Q. Who had access to these files when they were outside the country?

A: We don’t know. Once it was outside US jurisdiction we had no way of knowing.

Q: Are you able to get copies of your personal file from the Canadian data bank?

A: I was able to obtain the premises information pursuant to the forms records management plan. To my knowledge I am only the second person to do so.

Q: We know these programs have nothing to do with tracking animal disease and are actually meant to end competition for industrialized agricultural interests, and to seize control of agricultural lands and livestock….who are the actual players that will benefit from these programs?

A:The big corporate industrialized agriculture operators….Cargill, Tyson, Monsanto and others, because they would see the end to competition and obtain virtually full control over all agriculture.

Q: Are Wisconsin politicians either state or federal willing to speak to you about NAIS, Premises ID or the fake food safety bills?

A:On the Federal level, Sen. Kohl and Rep. Obey will not take my calls.

(*Writer’s note: I made my own calls to these offices and when I stated what I was calling in reference to, the staffers got really nasty and then hung up)

In fact Sen. Kohl’s staffer, Kim Cates’ husband is on the Agriculture Consumer Protection Citizen board. He would not even meet with John Kinsman of Family Farm Defenders to discuss the issue.

On the state level are the continuous lies. These people will say Premises ID has nothing to do with NAIS. They say this even though they have been shown the cooperative agreement between USDA and Wisconsin DATCP outlining Premises ID as the first step. They refuse to look at or acknowledge the legal documents.

DATCP had a document on the Wisconsin Legislative information Bureau site saying that the Amish don’t have any problem with this. If the Amish don’t have a problem with it why are they suing Emmanuel Miller Jr., an Amish from Clark County?

Steve Kagen would not address our concerns and he’s on the US house Ag sub- committee that held a hearing on NAIS and is also involved in the food safety bills and won’t address our concerns even there. He is working right now to get funding to move Wisconsin into phase II of NAIS which is the mandatory chipping and tagging of all animals.

I will say that Sen. Feingold has been willing to listen to our concerns both in his Washington office and in the state office.

Although there is a bill in Wisconsin which would restore voluntary participation I feel it is nothing more than an attempt at political redemption by the same people who passed the mandatory bill to begin with, in that they are fully aware that this bills will be sent to the House Ag committee and never see the light of day. This is merely political posturing…. The house, senate and government are all controlled by Democrats. This may be nothing more than a smoke screen while they make mandatory phase II which is the tagging and chipping, which can’t be done unless you have a Premises ID.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Paul Griepentrog shows that, in the end, what was billed and sold to Wisconsin farmers and herders as a strictly “voluntary” system turns out to be a mandatory system operated much like a police state enforcement policy. There can be no doubt, especially in light of the hyped up investigation and enforcement policies that this law in Wisconsin is less about disease and more about property seizure and forfeiture.

Wisconsin is the blueprint for the remaining states: what happens there is going to happen to all independent ranchers, farmers and producers across the country if any of these fake food safety bills, or National Animal Identification System (NAIS) is passed into law.

© 2009 MartiOakley

And next up, an excerpt from “A view of NAIS from Wisconsin”, by Walter Jeffries

“Wisconsion is the first and only state to implement mandatory Premise ID , the first step of the USDA’s proposed National Animal Identification System ( NAIS ). From what I hear it is a mixed bag. On the one hand Dr. Wiemers of the USDA commended Wisconsin for having registered 400% of their horses already. On the other hand I have received personal communications from a number of Wisconsonites who say they have not registered and don’t plan on doing so. Below is a letter from one such Wisconsin livestock owner:

Walter, Premise ID and NAIS have already been passed in Wisconsin, as you probably know. I have seen a lot of farm programs in my 66 years, but this is the most ridiculous one ever presented. I don’t see more ag. disease now than there was 50 years ago. I am not certain it is designed to hurt the small farmers, though it will I see it more as a result of globalization. For [Michael] Johanns , [USDA Secretary of Agriculture] to cease testing cattle for BSE, and commensurately implement a device for tracking this disease, is incongruous. In addition, cattle are still ingesting blood and slaughterhouse waste, in their feed… how stupid is this?

These folks are none too pleased about having NAIS shoved down their throats.

These folks are none too pleased about having NAIS shoved down their throats.

I will not comply as long as I do not receive WRITTEN notice from Madison. And even then I will go down kicking, claiming this is NOT constitutional. The farmer who rents my land has not registered his premises either, and he raises beef. I do not know anyone who has registered, but then I only know 3 farmers, because the encroaching development has taken over all the farmland in my area. The farmer closest to me raises both organically fed beef and bison…he does not object to NAIS. I suspect he is registered due to selling bison meat to restaurants. I don’t know how the third one feels…. I have not seen him for so long.

The members of Wisconsin Against NAIS are still fighting this legislation, with a vengeance. Some talk about Big Brother , some feel the next step is tracking US citizens, some believe the factory farmers want the “little guy” out of business, some have major concerns NAIS is an invasion of privacy, others find it frightening, others worry about the cost. They have discussed organizing a protest at Madison, our capitol. I have written to my congressman and both US senators. All three are pro-NAIS. (sigh) I don’t think our state senators will revoke their decision to pass NAIS. They seem to feel WI is a leading example….. Hah! This state is usually the last on the list for accepting any new innovation….”

Read the whole story here.

Read Walter Jeffries’ blog here.

Pictures added by the Bovine from internet sources.

And finally, an upbeat postscript: HR 2749 Killed (for now) on Floor of U.S. Congress – An excerpt:

“John Dingell came up six or seven votes short today, and failed to get food safety reform legislation passed through Congress.

Dingell, the once powerful Michigan Democrat who lost his chairmanship of the Energy & Commerce Committee before the start of the 111th Congress, fell just short of getting the necessary two-thirds majority vote to suspend the rules and adopt H.R. 2749 as amended.

The House voted 280 in favor and 150 against suspending the rules and passing H.R. 2749. Twenty-three Democrats voted with 127 Republicans to deny Dingell the two-thirds majority vote required under the rules. Fifty Republicans voted for the bill that Dingell had carefully crafted with help with Texas GOP Rep. Joe Barton.

While the proponents of the food safety legislation dominated the floor debate that stretched into a second hour, House Minority Leader John Boehner, R- Ohio, compared the late number of rewrites of the food safety legislation filed with the House Clerk as repeating the bad behavior on the part of the Majority that was used to get the stimulus bill passed. “Did anyone read this bill?” Boehner asked….”

from – National Assn of Farm Animal Welfare – Dec. 31, 2009

Ag.Ed@nafaw.org

A hotly contested court case centered on a farmers’ religious beliefs is now in the hands of a judge. Last week, Clark County District Attorney Darwin Zwieg filed his final brief in a case that jousts the state of Wisconsin against the historic religious convictions of Amish Christians.

On behalf of Miller, the court appointed Bonnie Walksmuth to present his case. Amish Christians normally shun court conflicts and are known for their peaceful humble demeanor. Thousands of immigrants fled Europe to settle in Wisconsin and the US to find safety for their religious freedoms. Now, as the court room was filled with concerned and broken-hearted Amish, an era of freedom was at high risk.

In Wisconsin v. Emanuel Miller Jr., Zwieg alleges the area farmer stands in violation of a new state law requiring all properties where livestock exist be registered with the state. Miller admits as much, but testifies the rule infringes on his religious beliefs. According to testimony during an evidentiary hearing in the matter, those in Miller’s faith fear eternal damnation if they abide by the law, which they feel is a pre-cursor to the biblical ‘Mark of the Beast.’ The issue is not an Amish only conviction, but also shared by Bible believers of many denominations.

Not just a new pestiferous state regulation, but a historic way of life was put on trial in Neillsville, Wisconsin. Miller was charged under complaint for civil forfeiture because he refused to surrender his life holdings into the state’s NAIS property enrollment surveillance system.

The DA says the state has a compelling interest to promote food and animal safety, human health and the economy of the state of Wisconsin. He points to testimony from DATCP employees, who stated mandatory premise ID could improve their ability to respond to an animal disease.

Dr. Paul McGraw, head of the Wisconsin Animal Health Dept. of Ag. was questioned, under oath, by Judge Counsell regarding the necessity of the premise registration system and whether the rule had shown to be a benefit to disease control in Wisconsin to which Dr. McGraw responded, “No”. The judge asked if it had been a benefit in any other state implemented and again, “No”.

In his brief, Zwieg notes a sincerely held religious belief should not give any Wisconsin resident the ability to refuse enforcements and regulations of the new state law. Zwieg crudely compares sincere Christians with corrupt cults of history to make the point that religious beliefs are not of any real consideration to the state of Wisconsin. The DATCP in Wisconsin was aware of the historic Bible beliefs of devout Christians and considered it a minor issue when laws were created to demand property enrollments.

Wisconsin enforces a mandatory NAIS although USDA on a federal level remains quasi voluntary for NAIS enrollment. At 16 recent listening sessions held by USDA Sec. Vilsack, over 90% of attendees opposed any form of government enforced animal ID. Nation wide the proposed NAIS program has been considered the worst idea, with the least proven value in USDA history. Basically, the NAIS, as proposed, is dead as a voluntary national program. The spark of life still exists in Wisconsin.

The state of Wisconsin is fulfilling their agreements with USDA to enforce state mandatory NAIS. The Wisconsin Dept. of Agriculture, Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium, and the Wisconsin Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection has received cooperative agreements totaling over 13 million dollars during a period from 2002 through 2009. According to state surveillance records there are 51,373 livestock properties in Wisconsin with 61,507 registered, to date, showing 119.7% in compliance. An estimated 7,320 have refused to surrender properties to the mandatory ruling.

As a result of Judge Counsell’s decision, either the religious folk in Wisconsin will be incarcerated by the hundreds, or they will break down their beliefs and be shattered by the state like a stomped soda can! The other option is for the state of Wisconsin to return the $13,000,000 to USDA. Go figure?

Attorney Walksmuth, representing Miller has already filed her final brief. The case now goes to Clark County Circuit Court Judge Jon Counsell for consideration.

Thanks to Brad Headtel, Marti Oakley and The PPJ Gazette.

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

ppjg-48

Marti Oakley

Copyright 2009  All rights reserved.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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?

by George Lauby (North Platte Bulletin) – 10/4/2009

Bill Bullard - Photo by George Lauby

Bill Bullard - Photo by George Lauby

A conference committee in Congress has decided to fund the controversial National Animal Identification System for another year to the tune of $5.3 million.
That will be a significant reduction from previous years, but does not placate opponents of the still floundering, five-year-old program.

“We’re disappointed with the decision,” said Bill Bullard, the chief executive of the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund.

Bullard was in North Platte Saturday at a convention of the Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska. R-CALF USA, ICON and 91 other groups asked Congress to eliminate the funds.

The critics say existing livestock records, such as brands, ear tags, veterinary logs and auction barn records do a good job of tracking cattle movements. USDA inspections at the borders are important to disease prevention, they say.

For instance, U.S. cattle have been free of foot and mouth disease since the 1920s. Another disease, brucellosis, has been largely prevented. If an occasional case appears, it is closely monitored and controlled.

In June, Nebraska and federal officials jumped on a single case of cattle tuberculosis in the northeast part of the state. To date 11,800 head have been tested, with no positive cases.

“The USDA is going from disease prevention to disease monitoring,” a speaker at the ICON convention said.

The program is voluntary, but state and federal authorities have urged it on and said inevitably every livestock owner will take part. The program is known as the “Locate in 48” program. The goal is to track a disease outbreak to the source herd within 48 hours.

But one speaker at the convention said, “If there ever is an outbreak of foot-and-mouth, no one would wait 48 hours to take action. They’d be on it right away.”

The Senate Appropriations Committee had approved $14.6 million for the NAIS program, the amount requested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but the House allocated nothing.

The appropriation is part of the Agriculture appropriations bill.

Bullard said the $5.3 million could shore up the program where it is less expensive and cumbersome, such as in factory-style hog, poultry and cattle feeding operations.

Congress has appropriated $142 million for the national animal identification system since it began in 2004. The USDA has registered only 35 percent of animal premises.

Last year, the USDA got $14.2 million to run the program, but registrations increased by only three percent.

The North Platte Bulletin – Published 10/4/2009
Copyright © 2009 northplattebulletin.com – All rights reserved.
Flatrock Publishing, Inc. – 1300 E 4th St., Suite F – North Platte, NE 69101

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.

September 29, 2009U_1730_m

by Darol Dickinson

When a critter is over 30 months of age the USDA has made a rule that the processing procedure can not saw the carcass down the middle. Slaughter must do two cuts on each side of the spinal column and not compromise the meat with the possible material from the spinal column. Supposedly if there is a contaminated BSE carcass it could affect the meat. These animals only get BSE after 30 months of age. On a fed steer we lose the T bone cut because the bone is lost in the cut.

That is the reason for source verification, to prove the animal is under 30 months.

NAIS proposed data is retained by USDA and not available for source verification unless the animal’s owner has a separate system of keeping records that they have access to.

Therefore: NAIS is useless for source verification.

Source verification is a small carrot that the declining beef industry uses to point to a flake of hope at the end of the tunnel. If everyone had source verification then there would be no premium for those who do. If cattle are over 30 months of age it is not an issue because the quasi premium of a few bucks wouldn’t be possible anyway.

Currently age verification is determined by USDA meat kill floor inspectors [mouthing] cattle. An inspector trained to visually evaluate can tell within one to 4 months a animal’s age by tooth development.

I process about 80 steers for our retail beef sales each year that are 26 to 32 months. I found some inspectors were guessing my 26 month steers at 30+ months and this loss of the T bones was costing me about $30 per carcass. I called the USDA people and cried foul play. He said; ”Tell me the age and that will be fine.”

All my steers are age number branded and we have a computer print out on every steer. Our cattle are numbered with the only method proven to be a permanent ID since before King David — fire branding.

  • I send them a computer print out showing the
  • birth date,
  • pedigree records,
  • vaccination records and,
  • rate of gain.

We have about 20 items on our computer records of each steer that no one holds in a secret vault outside the USA.

The USDA inspector respects our proven honesty and I can send him a steer 29 months and 29 days with my computer records and he regards him as under, 30 months. This is not hard, just another USDA red tape issue.

Our total record system is for genetic improvement. It is vast and cheap and far more economical than NAIS, and the tags won’t fall off!

People who are amateur and who don’t raise cattle, fight to keep from knowing the truth. One individual called Senator Blanche Lincoln’s office this week and her staff says: “She only supports voluntary NAIS”, but the reason that she voted for NAIS funding is because: “Several producers enjoy receiving the value-added from the NAIS program.”

Just for the record, there is no NAIS document concerning value-added.

These people who think this system of NAIS and Premises ID is going to benefit them, can high center on theory and die on their own sword of stupidity.

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.

Powered by WordPress Web Design by SRS Solutions © 2017 National Association of Farm Animal Welfare Design by SRS Solutions