For many years, producers were being told that a mandatory National Animal Identification System was inevitable and every animal was going to have to be tagged with an electronic tag and tracked through every movement. Producers and groups like Kansas Cattlemen's Association fought the system because of many factors including confidentiality, liability, and cost... and now NAIS is officially dead. Now, what lies ahead?
Since the dismemberment of NAIS, the USDA has created a new Animal Disease Traceability Program (ADT). How is this different than NAIS? First, the program is led and administered by individual states; the program allows for metal tags similar to those used in Bang's testing; unlike NAIS, ADT's sole focus is disease tracking and management, therefore no premise will be required; all information will be held at the state level; and lastly, the only animals involved in this program would be those moving interstate, across state lines.
Is this mandatory or voluntary and how will this affect producers? USDA plans on providing rules and guidelines in early April. Although it is speculative as to what USDA will say, KCA has been at the table with our Kansas Animal Health Department as well as other major ag groups in the state to come together to address ADT. KCA has been involved to protect the interest of producers, to provide input as to how to best protect our industry from disease, and to advocate on behalf of cattlemen so that a program can focus on animal diseases rather than animal ID. We have worked collaboratively to address our concerns to USDA and express the need for preventative measures not just management.
"USDA wants to have a disease program that states develop and administer, but 50 different programs are not going to be cohesive. Producers understand the need for disease prevention and management, but we do not want this turning into another NAIS, a mandatory ruse to add more regulations and costs to producers. We have been involved in this process for over a year now, to help guide our state as a producer organization. We have gotten word that USDA is planning on announcing official rules for this animal disease traceability in early April. We are not completely sure what USDA will be saying, but be assured, KCA will be studying those rules, and making sure to let USDA know what will and will not work for our industry and the cattlemen that work so hard to maintain it. Also, we will have the USDA rules available to anyone who would like a copy so that individuals can provide their own comments."
If producers would like more information about Animal Disease Traceability and what is happening on the state level, they are encouraged to attend one of the many meetings being help across the state.
Two meetings have been planned for March, and more are being scheduled for later in the spring. Kansas Cattlemen's Association will be on hand at these meetings to provide information and resources as well.
•March 8—El Dorado, Kansas—Animal disease traceability meeting and free cattlemen's supper—7 p.m.—Butler Community College, Bank Meetings Rooms (# 2006 & 2007) Downstairs, 901 S. Haverhill Rd., El Dorado—Speaker: Kendra Riley, Animal Identification Division, Kansas Animal Health Department.
•March 10—Winfield, Kan.—Animal disease traceability meeting and free cattlemen's supper—7 p.m.— Winfield Livestock Auction, 7168 US Hwy 160, Winfield—Speaker: Kendra Riley, Animal Identification Division, Kansas Animal Health Department.
These meetings are open to the public. You are encouraged to bring a neighbor. RSVP is suggested but not required. If you would like more information regarding these meetings or to RSVP, please call the Kansas Cattlemen's Association at 785-238-1483.