Browsing Posts tagged Opposition to NAIS

USDA Signals NAIS is Dead

2/8/2010
Max Thornsberry

After a long-fought six-year battle, independent cattle producers have finally succeeded in stopping the National Animal Identification System (NAIS), which was an onerous plan conceived by the World Trade Organization (WTO) and promoted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), domestic and multinational ear tag companies, as well as multinational meat packers and their closely aligned trade associations.

The battle was extremely lopsided. USDA had millions of dollars of taxpayer money — over $140 million to be precise — to develop and promote NAIS and to persuade state departments of agriculture and cattle industry trade associations to recruit as many independent cattle producers as possible into the ill-fated NAIS program. According to the Web site www.usaspending.gov, the National Cattlemen’s Foundation, part of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), received over $2.1 million from the federal government in 2008 to promote NAIS.

Armed with millions of dollars and six years worth of joint government and processing-industry planning, how did NAIS get stopped?

The answer is that NAIS was stopped by the persistent, relentless pressure applied by a handful of non-conventional organizations that exclusively represented the interests of cattle farmers and ranchers, not the interests of the industrialized sectors of the U.S. beef supply chain. This was a David versus Goliath battle in which David won and the interests of independent cattle producers came out on top.

These recent victories by independent cattle producers, with far less political clout and economic power than their conventional beef industry trade association counterparts, strongly suggests that there remains a genuine reason for hope that independent cattle producers can reverse the present course of their industry — a course that is fast leading toward more and more corporate control over the U.S. cattle industry by beef packers that are capturing control over the live cattle supply chain, just as they have already captured control over both the poultry and hog supply chains.

The beef packers are now focusing their efforts on the feeding sector of the cattle industry by purchasing more and more feedlots (JBS recently purchased the nation’s largest feedlot company, Five Rivers Ranch Cattle Feeding, L.L.C.) and gaining increased control over the fed cattle market through the use of new cattle procurement tools, such as certain marketing agreements and formula-type contracts that effectively reduce the competitiveness of the fed cattle cash market.

As with every major policy issue victory, the real work begins now.

Now that NAIS has been scrapped, a new program needs to be developed to achieve improvements in the United States’ ability to quickly contain and control animal diseases. Independent cattle producers must remain directly involved in the development of this new program to ensure that it does not infringe upon their rights and privileges as did NAIS.

It is encouraging that when Agriculture Secretary Vilsack announced he was going to pursue a new approach to animal disease traceability, he also announced that the U.S. must strengthen its import controls to prevent the introduction of animal diseases at our borders. This is a high priority for independent cattle producers who intrinsically understand that we cannot continue importing diseases like BSE, bovine tuberculosis and brucellosis if we desire to maintain our industry’s reputation of producing the healthiest cattle in the world — a reputation that is the U.S. cattle industry’s competitive advantage in both the domestic market and the global market.

I encourage every cattle producer to take a new look at the relatively new organizations that have amassed uncanny successes for independent cattle producers despite seemingly impossible odds. Each of the organizations that brought us to where we’re at today is not likely to lead us in a new direction. But some of these new organizations will and they need your support to continue winning their fight to restore for the U.S. cattle industry the opportunity for U.S. cattle producers to maintain independent and profitable cattle-producing businesses all across the United States.

The future of the U.S. cattle industry is in your hands and will be determined by which organization you choose to support.

The NAIS that USDA was attempting to force down the throats of independent U.S. cattle producers, utilizing our own tax dollars, would have completely changed the way cattle farmers and ranchers do business.

While obtaining a premises ID number — the first step to a nationwide NAIS — required no effort, the second and third steps in the onerous WTO-mandated system would have been costly, difficult, and, I believe, would have generated rebellion on the range. Reporting the movement of every animal, once it left its birth farm of origin, was a completely unworkable system for producers, especially those operating in our most populous cow states, where the average cowherd size is 30 to 40 mother cows.

Imagine having to get your cattle in a chute, read the tags electronically, and report the numbers to USDA every time you moved a set of calves to another pasture, your Dad’s place, or sent a group of calves to the sale barn. Not only were you going to be required to read the tags electronically, but you were going to be required to report the tag numbers to the appropriate authorities within 48 hours of that movement, or you would be out of compliance and subject to enforcement fines: A range rebellion in the making, and completely unnecessary for a first world country like the United States.

At least for the time-being, the government has listened to the people. A spike has been driven into the heart of a one-world government’s dictatorial rule.

Maybe our Constitution is not dead?

If you eat… you need to stop NAIS


Scenic

The
Wicked NAIS Witch is NOT dead!

February 7th, 2010

Obama gave us a hint of things to come in his recent State of the [Agriculture]
speech. We did not have to wait long before we had “earth-shattering”
news regarding NAIS.  Supposedly the government listened
to the people and responded.  But if you dig deeper you will find out the
truth of the matter.

How many times will global food control be re-defined and transformed?
As many times as it takes to confuse the public into believing that there
is “no global food control scheme”.  Now say the BIG LIE ten times quickly.
The bottom line is that you can shake your head and repeat “there is no
global control scheme” but that is not going to make it reality.    The
NAIS has been passed off safely and securely into international hands,
right on their global food control schedule, 2010.

The re-definition and transformation of NAIS the international food control
players have just tightened their iron-grip, consolidated power, and cast
a broader net.  You can see this clearly in new 2010 legislation/regulation/treaties
and reading in between the political mantra lines.  We now have expanded
the limited three pillar program of Premises Identification, Electronic
Animal Identification, and Tracing…to now include: Animal Health, Animal
Welfare, Veterinary Drugs, Animal Feeding, and Food Safety.

A Total Food Control Package

For clarification:                              Traceability
= NAIS

New Plan

Remember!

1.  NAIS is a Living Document that
will always change and evolve.  You will never know the final rules for
compliance because there will never be any distinguishing rules.

From Government Document obtained
under Public Disclosure

2.  NAIS is one tool in the toolkit.
The global food controllers have just revealed more “tools” in their kit.
We can expect more.

The February 5, 2020 USDA move was an orchestrated
9-11 style move.  Across the country veterinarians, active and retired
were advised of the new “Traceability Framework”.  By noon, the USDA had
disposed of evidence from the NAIS crime scene.  From out of “nowhere”
came resounding support for the new Framework from the AVMA to species
groups.

More documentation will be coming…it is
a matter of what prioritizing the international info ducks.  Stay  tuned.

From the trenches…….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What part of no don’t you understand?

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

It was “No. Not now. Not ever.”

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

It was “No. Not now. Not ever.”

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

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

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

May I call on Lorrie Morgan, again?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

National Association of Farm Animal Welfare, Dec. 23, 2009 — Ag.Ed@nafaw.org
Milk ProtestAround the nation politicians are making laws and enforcements about things they know not of. Such is the case with National Animal Identification, Ohio’s Issue #2 and numerous leverages to increase taxes and clamp down on farm production.
“Every man is a fool when he is doing something he don’t know nothing about.” Will Roger’s quote was never more true than today when the halls of legislation in Washington DC are filled with elected elites that have no understanding of agriculture. To play it safe, if you don’t understand it—leave it alone.
As NAIS becomes a less relevant, useless, bad USDA idea, BEEF Magazine, and other smaller circulation media, grope in the dark hunting some simple benefit, or some lack of pain to encourage NAIS implementation. A wheel barrow load of ideas have been falsely exploited wrongly promising virtues of, profitable source verification, export sales expansion, world trade compliance, useful carcass data for breeders, and even (ho ho ho) economy of application.  All of these fail to hold water, as this article reveals, the NAIS proposed data is “FOR PRIVATE USDA EYES ONLY.”  None of the above promises, virtues, claims or assumptions are of any value to US ranchers, nor ever were.  USDA has squeezed the NAIS purpose down to, “nothing more than information from a phone book,” according to USDA’s chief veterinary officer, John Clifford.
Snicker through this December 14, 2006 Iowa Farmer Today article, from their archives, resurrected from the dead, for the December 2009 issue, designed to entice livestock producers to fear not, and try to dance with NAIS one more song.  The thrust — bring in enough attorneys and it can be simplified enough to be palatable?    What!!!
Darol Dickinson, www.naisSTINKS.com

Financial Sense Editorials

NAIS privacy not black and white issue

By Gene Lucht and Jeff DeYoung, Iowa Farmer Today
Thursday, December 14, 2006 8:27 AM CST

Privacy has been a central issue in the debate over whether to make a National Animal Identification System mandatory or voluntary.

“It’s a legitimate concern,” says Doug O’Brien, a staff attorney at the Drake University Agricultural Law Center in Des Moines.

But, O’Brien, who also works at the National Agricultural Law Center at the University of Arkansas, says the issues are not black and white. Instead, they are shades of gray. Many could be addressed in the drafting of legislation that could be written to implement a national system.

“It’s fairly complicated,” O’Brien says of an ID program. “The ground is shifting on this.”

But, in the debate over a mandatory vs. a voluntary plan, privacy has been a driving factor.

John Clifford, USDA’s chief veterinary officer at the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), agrees privacy has been a central issue.

“Confidentiality is definitely a concern to the private sector,” Clifford says. “We will have the premises identification database, which is nothing more than information from a phone book.

“Federal law will protect the confidential information from disclosure. We will have access to that data in the event of an occurrence.”

O’Brien says that could be addressed in a mandatory system.

There are really two confidentiality issues, he explains. The first is over whether information about animals and their owners could be gotten from the government through a Freedom of Information request. The federal Freedom of Information Act requests would appear to apply to any information gathered by the government about animals.

But, O’Brien says there are nine exemptions to the act that are stipulated in the law, and several could reasonably apply to this situation. For example, there is an exception for confidential business information. Another protects released information that would make it difficult to run a program. These items have been factors in the federal price-reporting law.

Those concerns could be addressed by writing specific statute language that would prohibit such release of information.

The second concern is the potential for government agencies to share the information gathered for a government program.

Again, that could be handled through specific language in a new ID law or it could be part of language to be included in contracts between farmers and the government, O’Brien says.

There are privacy concerns with private ownership of information in a voluntary program.

Farmers might want to make sure federal code or contracts with those private groups would ban the selling of sharing of that information with private groups that might try to use the information for their private gain.

Dec. 4 Deadline for USDA Comments

December 2, 2009 Editor — Brad Headtel, National Assn. of Farm Animal Welfare. Ag.Ed@nafaw.org

Cattle raisers across the nation are allowed only a few hours to submit comments about changes in the bovine tuberculosis (TB) program. The deadline for submission is Friday, Dec. 4. Opposition to this new enforcement is offered a comment period, but very little time to respond.

The Notice of Availability of a Bovine Tuberculosis Program Concept Paper was posted in the Oct. 5 Federal Register for those carefully hunting each new government action in the fine print

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is seeking comments to change the cooperative federal-state-industry effort to eradicate bovine tuberculosis from cattle in the United States. Since the program’s inception in 1917, significant progress has been made, and TB is almost eradicated. However, several challenges impede eradication including the refusal of state and federal wildlife herds and their lack of health management.

Cattlemen have expressed concern that this program may lead to the implementation of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). USDA uses a number of quasi health issues to invoke mandatory NAIS. This appears to be one opportunity for a segment mandatory enforcement.

The Sec of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack authorized listening sessions to review opinions about NAIS during the past Summer. Over 95% of respondents opposed any type of NAIS tax or enforcement. This poorly thought-out USDA concept is not popular among any livestock producers, in any form.

To submit comments electronically, go to http://www.regulations.gov/.
Search for the docket using the keyword “APHIS-2009-0073.”

Comments can also be sent by mail. Send two copies of your comments to Docket No. APHIS-2009-0073, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.

Follow The Money

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Costs

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Players

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

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

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

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

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

Illinois Beef Association (IBA)

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

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

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA)

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

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

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

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

The Sunset of Family Farming as we know it?

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

United States Animal Identification Organization (USAIO)

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

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

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

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

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

Agri Beef

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

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

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

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

The Money Funnel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Case Study: Wisconsin

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

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

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

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

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

Case Study: Michigan

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

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

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

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

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

NAIS Failure

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

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

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


Endnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

31 IRS 990 form. 2007 at 8.

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

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

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

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

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

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

38 990 IRS Form. 2007.

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

40 Information found at www.usaspending.gov.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

65 Ibid.

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

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

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

Farm families like this will be driven out of existance.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

96 Personal communication with Holstein Association USA sales associate.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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