The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will hold a series of listening sessions across the country to discuss the development, structure and implementation of a national animal identification (ID) program for all livestock and poultry animals, according to a USDA report.
"These sessions will provide public forums to discuss the national animal identification program," said Bill Hawks, undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs. "A national animal identification program will help the government and industry more quickly control outbreaks of a variety of animal diseases and reduce the economic impacts on the market."
Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman announced in December 2003 that USDA would expedite the implementation of a national animal identification program. USDAs Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has received more than $18 million to begin implementing a national system that will quickly and efficiently trace back diseased or potentially diseased animals. A premises identification system will be completed this summer, which will allow for the beginning of pilot programs to test identification systems.
The first listening session is scheduled at Crown Center (formerly known as the Charlie Rose Ag Center), 1960 Coliseum Dr., Hospitality Suite A, in Fayetteville, N.C., June 14 from 1 p.m.-3 p.m. For directions, call the Crown Center at (910) 323-5088.
Additional listening sessions are scheduled for:
Athens, Ga., June 18;
Prineville, Ore., July 1;
Stockton, Calif., July 10;
Socorro, N.M., July 16;
Pasco, Wash., July 23;
Greeley, Colo., Aug. 10;
Billings, Mont., Aug. 13;
Kissimmee, Fla., Aug. 16;
Columbus, Ohio, Aug. 18;
Ames, Iowa, Aug. 26;
Joplin, Mo., Aug. 27;
Appleton, Wis., Aug. 30; and
Saint Cloud, Minn., Aug. 31.
More details about each listening session, including the location and time of the meeting, will be posted on the APHIS Web site at www.aphis.usda.gov/lpa/issues/nais/nais.html.
These locations are in addition to Houston, Texas, where USDA participated in a congressional field hearing March 5 and discussed the issue with livestock producers and groups. USDA officials have also attended various meetings around the country to discuss this and other issues with agricultural producers.