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USDA Announces Funding for Animal ID Cooperative Agreements

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is seeking approximately 20 cooperative agreements with state and tribal governments to support initial development of a National Animal Identification System (NAIS).

APHIS announced it will award up to $11,640,000 for these cooperative agreements, part of the $18 million transferred from USDA's Commodity Credit Corporation for a national system that will trace diseased and potentially diseased animals to their point of origin. The agreements will focus mainly on developing premises identification system.

APHIS says the "premises ID" aspect of the NAIS is a priority, and they hope to get the components of the national premises system in place in fiscal year 2004.

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) continues to work through its Animal ID Commission to develop a national animal identification system that would be implemented in the private sector. Under the private sector plan, state and federal government officials would be provided with adequate information to improve the nation's animal health surveillance systems. NCBA remains concerned that any system fully contained under the umbrella of the federal government risks producer privacy.

Applications for cooperative agreement funding must include a plan for developing and/or utilizing established infrastructure for outreach purposes. Emphasis will be placed on coordinating with the beef, dairy, sheep and swine industries. A formal request for applications is posted on the AHIS webpage at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/mrpbs/fmd/agreements_announcements.html

The USDA also announced last week they will be conducting listening sessions on Animal ID across the country this summer. More information on the fourteen public forums, including the site and time of the meeting, will be posted on the APHIS Web site at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/lpa/issues/nais/nais.html.

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