USDA to access animal ID data through single source

The Agriculture Department today announced guidelines for development of a public-private partnership that will enable industry to maintain animal movement data as part of the National Animal Identification System. Agriculture will be able to access the data through a single repository.

More than 100,000 ranches and processors have registered their premises as part of the ID system. Under the partnership, industry will develop and maintain databases that contain animal movement information.

'After hearing the confidentiality concerns of producers, we envision a system that allows these databases to feed a single, privately held animal-tracking repository that we can access," said Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns.

The National Animal Identification System will be designed to identify and track specific animals in the United States and record their movement over their life spans. Once it is fully implemented, the ID system will enhance U.S. efforts to respond to intentionally or unintentionally introduced animal disease outbreaks, such as mad cow disease, more quickly and effectively.

Generally, the system must be able to allow tracking of animals from point of origin to processing within 48 hours without unnecessary burden to producers and other stakeholders, Agriculture said. Animal movement data will be maintained in a private system that can be readily accessed when necessary by state and federal animal health authorities.

Technically, the system's architecture must be developed without unnecessarily increasing the size and role of government and be flexible enough to use existing technologies and incorporate new ID technologies as they are developed.

Agriculture plans an industry/government meeting this fall to collect user requirements and system specifications.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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