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USDA Announces Implementation of ID System

Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman announced today the framework for implementation of a National Animal Identification System (NAIS). The plan is designed to identify agricultural premises exposed to a foreign animal disease so the disease can be quickly contained and eradicated. It is set to take place in three main phases.

Phase I includes the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) plan to assess federally funded animal identification (ID) systems currently in place. Once the USDA determines which systems should be used for the NAIS, it will begin educating producers about the ID program, determine staffing requirements and develop proposals needed for implementing the system.

Phase II involves implementing the animal ID system at regional levels for one or more species. During this phase, the USDA plans to continue producer education, address regulatory needs and work with Congress.

Finally, the animal ID system would be expanded to the national level during Phase III.

Before the ID system is phased in, however, the agency plans to select an interim data repository to accommodate all incoming data regarding ag locations nationwide. Once it chooses a storage site for the data, the USDA will assist states, Indian tribes and other government entities in adapting to the new system.

Although Veneman didn’t announce a timeline in the USDA press release, she noted that $18.8 million will be transferred from the USDA Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) to provide initial funding during fiscal year (FY) 2004. In addition, the Administration’s proposed budget for FY 2005 includes another $33 million reserved for the project. The designated CCC money is set to go toward infrastructure development and system implementation; however, Veneman noted a need for both private and public funds to make the system fully operational.

For more information visit www.usda.gov.

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