Sept. 23, 2005
USDA to Host Animal ID Meeting
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced Thursday a public meeting to discuss development of a privatized animal movement tracking database under the National Animal Identification System (NAIS).
Topics to be discussed at the meeting include: the formation of a new entity representing all affected industry sectors to develop and provide ongoing oversight of the privatized animal tracking database, and the required system specifications and user requirements necessary to support animal health surveillance programs and traceback investigations.
The public meeting will take place Oct. 12 in Kansas City, Mo., from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Radisson Hotel and Suites Kansas City-City Center, 1301 Wyandotte St., Kansas City, Mo. Advanced registration is not required.
Notice of this public meeting was published in the Sept. 20 Federal Register. For more information visit www.aphis.usda.gov.
USDA Prepares for Hurricane Rita
Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said Thursday USDA has deployed personnel and resources to assist the efforts of federal, state and local authorities in preparation prior to Hurricane Ritas landfall.
As Hurricane Rita approaches, USDA personnel are preparing to provide food and water, emergency housing, and other resources to the region, Johanns said. Even as we stand ready to assist with Rita, we continue to closely coordinate with many partners to meet the immediate and long-term needs of those affected by Hurricane Katrina.
USDA Forest Service incident command teams, in coordination with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Texas Department of Emergency Management, are in San Antonio, Texas, helping the evacuees who are relocating from the Texas coast. USDA has staged an incident management team in Dallas, Texas, that is ready to deploy once Hurricane Rita makes landfall, according to a USDA release.
When Rita hit the Florida Keys, USDA commodities were provided to shelters in the Homestead and Lakeland areas, and are being used for congregate meal service. The USDA Food & Nutrition Service (FNS) is working with Texas officials to assess commodity and baby food needs in order to redirect and purchase commodities to fulfill the anticipated need.
USDA is communicating with partners including electrical co-ops, telecommunications providers and the Texas Rural Water Association to implement existing disaster recovery plans that USDA has required to be in place. USDA conducted an inventory of available housing units that could be used by families displaced by the hurricane.
Additional information and updates about USDAs hurricane relief efforts are posted daily at www.usda.gov. For more information about making contributions for disaster assistance, go to www.firstgov.gov and www.disasterhelp.gov.
Senate Bars Non-Ambulatory Livestock, Puts Brakes on Japanese Beef
An amendment barring non-ambulatory cattle, sheep, swine or other livestock from human consumption was adopted Sept. 20 by a voice vote in the Senate, the American Meat Institute (AMI) reported. The amendment addresses H.R. 2744, the Senate Agriculture Appropriations bill, which funds the departments of Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and related agencies for the fiscal year (FY) ending Sept. 30, 2006.
The Senate also passed an amendment that would suspend USDAs rule allowing the resumption of Japanese beef imports into the U.S. The amendment passed 72-26. Sponsored by Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), it mandates that no funds be expended on the development of the final rule to resume imports of Japanese beef unless the President certifies that two-way beef trade has resumed.
AMI also noted that a non-binding resolution also passed by voice vote. The resolution urges the U.S. government to not permit the importation into the United States of beef from Japan until the government of Japan takes appropriate actions to permit the importation into Japan of beef from the United States.
The two amendments will be re-considered when representatives from the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate meet to settle differences between their respective FY 2006 Agriculture Appropriations bills, since neither measure is included in the House version.
For more information visit www.meatami.com.
compiled by Crystal Albers, Angus Productions Inc. associate editor