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January 30, 2007

New NAIS User Guide
On November 22, 2006, the USDA released its latest version of a Draft User Guide, replacing all previously published program documents. This is a 74-page document which can be accessed by going to:
http://animalid.aphis.usda.gov/nais/naislibrary/userguide.shtml. There is a place to click that will take you to the User Guide.

Along with the much publicized User Guide, USDA released an announcement of $14 million in funds available for states and tribes to implement NAIS. The announcement, some 28 pages in length, can be viewed at:
http://www.aphis.usda.gov/mrpbs.fmd/VS_2007_NAIS_Announcement.pdf.  This announcement makes it very clear that the funds come with conditions, in particular meeting participation goals.

News Article (Unknown Origin/Date)
Although I cannot identify the source of the following, it is an obvious new article. The actual date of the news article is unknown, but it can be inferred from its content that it was released sometime during the week of Nov. 26 - Dec. 2, 2006. The important thing to remember when reading it is that although USDA is claiming that NAIS is now and will forever more remain a voluntary program federally, and key word here is “federally,” they are urging states to implement the NAIS at the state level (mandatorily, not voluntarily) and are providing funding for such implementation.

“National ID Is Dead
“USDA effectively and quietly knocked the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) in the head last Wednesday. It did so with the unheralded publication of the “NAIS User Guide,” which replaces all former NAIS draft documents. This document, for the first time, emphasizes NAIS as a voluntary program rather than as a steppingstone to a mandatory one.
“In fact, at the very beginning, the guide explains, ‘USDA is not requiring participation in the program. NAIS can help producers protect the health and marketability of their animals - but the choice to participate is theirs.’
“Late last month at a community outreach event in Kansas City, Chuck Conner, USDA Deputy Secretary, and Bruce Knight, USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, paved the way for the agency’s backpedaling. ‘Since we’ve had some confusion on this, we need to be as clear as we can be. This is voluntary with a capital V. Not a currently voluntary, then maybe a mandatory system. This is a permanently voluntary system at the federal level,” Conner said.
“ ‘We’re making it crystal clear that NAIS is voluntary - no ifs, ands or buts,’ explained Knight. ‘Farmers can choose to register their premises. They can choose to participate in individual animal or group identification. And they can opt to be part of tracking. Or not.’˝

Opt Out Procedure for Premises Registration
An article dated January 29, 2007 by Henry Lamb appeared in The Eco-logic Powerhouse, the publication of the Environmental Conservation Organization. Among other things, the author writes that USDA has decided to provide an “opt out” procedure for people whose premises have been registered in the National Animal Identification System. He also describes the proceedings of the October 16, 2006 meeting of the United States Animal Health Association’s Livestock Identification Committee.

Lamb’s article can be found at: http://freedom.org/news/200701/29/lamb.phtml
The Report of USAHA’s Livestock ID Committee (15 pages) can be found at:
State NAIS Coordinators can be found at:

Ray Hoyt
NPGA President
NAIS Coordinator
NPGA HER Committee Member



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