Animal ID registration going well, official says

US - Livestock producers are voluntarily registering their operations with the US Department of Agriculture, said Bruce Knight, undersecretary for the USDA's marketing and regulatory programs, during the World Pork Expo in Iowa.
calendar icon 11 June 2007
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Knight was speaking about the National Animal Identification System to hog producers attending the expo at the State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.

"This is one of the tougher issues in animal agriculture. But we are making good progress," said Knight .

He said that 400,000 farms, or a little more than one in four US farms, have signed up so far. And this has been helped by the National Pork Board, which has signed an agreement with USDA to promote registration of hog operations. More than two-thirds of hog operations have registered.

Knight said that registering livestock operations with the USDA will create an information system that will help producers and animal health officials respond to an outbreak of animal disease or to agriterrorism.
"It doesn't cost anything, it's confidential, its simple to do and, most importantly, it's the right thing to do," Knight added.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship also has been promoting registration of Iowa farms. More than 10,000 Iowa farmers have registered with the USDA.

"Iowa is the leader in the nation, with North Carolina and Texas," Knight said.

The USDA also signed an agreement with the National FFA Organization, formerly known as Future Farmers of America, to encourage registration.

The controversial program was stymied because of the opposition of some livestock producers to registering with the government.

Because of the stalemate, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns decided to institute a voluntary registration to get the program off the ground, Knight said.

The goal of the program is to get enough livestock operations registered so that an animal disease outbreak or another "animal health emergency" can be traced to the farm of origin in 48 hours, Knight said.

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