Agriculture awards animal ID system funding

The Agriculture Department selected 29 state and tribal projects to receive a total of $11.6 million to begin implementing the national animal identification initiative for all livestock and poultry.

'These projects represent strong collaboration among state and tribal animal health officials, academia, producers and producer organizations,' Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman said yesterday.

Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will distribute the funds through 29 cooperative agreements.

States and tribes can use the funds to register premises through a standardized system provided by APHIS or through other systems that comply with NAIS data standards. Including the cost-sharing of state and tribal governments and industry, the total investment in these NAIS cooperative agreements is more than $16 million. The Bush administration's fiscal 2005 budget calls for $33 million for the national animal identification system.

Besides registering premises and establishing necessary data transfer procedures, many states and tribes will also conduct field trials or research in order to test and fine-tune identification technologies and collect animal movement data. (GCN story)

State and tribal plans include collecting intra- and interstate animal movement records electronically; integrating data collection technologies at livestock marketing facilities and processing plants; tracking livestock imported from other countries; and electronically collecting animal movement data as livestock are loaded on and off trucks and trailers.

Agriculture is conducting a series of listening sessions across the country to discuss with producers the development, structure and implementation of the NAIS. Six sessions have taken place so far, and nine more are scheduled, including one next week in Greeley, Colo.

Agriculture wants to be able to identify all animals and premises that have had direct contact with a foreign animal disease or disease of concern within 48 hours of discovery.

The department is technology-neutral, which it believes will allow industry to determine which animal identification method or methods are the most practical and effective for each species.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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