NAIS County Extension Letter
This is Jason's Ott's reply to NAIS email.
From: Jason P Ott [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Subject: Re: Fw: The end of small farms and ranches
This is a hoax by people that don't know much about production agriculture. However, they are very well educated and use terms like HB 1362 to make them sound official.
The Independent Cattlemen's Association, the Texas and Southwest Cattle Raiser's Association, and Farm Bureau are supportive and active in developing NAIS (National Animal Identification System). The organizations/people that oppose it are Howard Garrett "The Dirt Doctor", Organic Growers Groups, and a host of anti-government groups opposed to any government legislation. They are taking a lot of the statements agency officials have made way out of contexts.
The fact is NAIS is coming! It is federal law and it has been around for several years. Our county commissioners and to some extent our state legislators have nothing to say about it. Exactly how Texas will implement it is still evolving. Therefore, nobody is an expert on the
NAIS. There are many many disadvantages to moving to this system. This web site, http://www.texasanimalhealthcommissionwatch.com/, is dedicated to pointing out every one of them, although, most on this site are very far fetched. Guys, a cattle rustler does not need GPS coordinates to steal your cattle. However, there are disadvantages to the system. The main thing is that it is going to be a hassle for livestock producers and especially the local auction barns.
There are also many advantages to this system. Australia and Canada already have a similar system in place. This gives their countries an edge over ours when our Secretary of Agriculture is out negotiating new import markets for our domestically grown beef. A fact that is pretty important to Ag producers' actually engaged in agriculture to make a living for their families.
Small farmers and ranchers are not making any money anyway! And a $20 biannual fee will not break them. Small producers are doing it because they enjoy the lifestyle not because they need to put food on the table. If they are in production to put food on the table that is good too then they don't have to participate in the system! Only livestock that is commingled with other livestock needs to participate, as commingling allows opportunity for disease spread. So, if a cow or chicken is going to live and die on your farm it need not be a part of the system.
Disease does not respect herd or acreage size. It only seeks out susceptible animals. That is why large and small operations should participate. The NAIS is mainly geared for Foot and Mouth Disease Control and to some level BSE "mad cow". Foot and Mouth Disease is a very scary and real threat all clove hoofed animals (cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, etc.) are susceptible to. The system also needs to track horses because soil can cling to the hoof and spread the diseases to other areas. Being able to control an outbreak could potentially save billions of our tax dollars.
Rabbits will not be wearing ear tags (RFID). There are working species groups that are determining how best to monitor animal movements for each species. For cattle ear tags are common practice, so electronic ear tags are a logical choice. It is correct that Group/Lot ID numbers will most likely be used on corporate farms.
These corporate farms raise swine and chickens and are vertically integrated corporations. Meaning, they do everything from farrow (birth) to finish to that animal. The animal never leaves the group it was born into until after harvest. Again this is the standard operating procedure for these species and therefore the best way to implement the system. Why monitor an individual when it will never leave a given group? A calf may have multiple owners and be part of many groups as it move up the production chain.
The NAIS is a three phase program. We are in phase 1 premises registration. Phase 2 is animal identification and the third is animal reporting and tracking. We need to worry about phase 1 before we jump to 2 or 3.
On the local level the Ag Science Instructors, a few folks on this mailing, and myself are working with our Fair Association and Stock show board to get a premise ID for our fairgrounds. To my understanding of how the system is going to work this will cover all 4H and FFA kids whose families are not engaged in some other livestock operation. If their parents have livestock the kid will operate his/her project on the parents premise ID number.
I have written many news articles and spoken on the radio on this subject. We have also had speakers at our Medina County Cattlemen's Association meetings on this subject. Kenny Edger, the person heading up NAIS for the Texas Animal Health Commission has also spoke at my
October Range Tour. Hondo Livestock Auction has also held workshops on the subject. Our local producers have had numerous opportunities to learn about NAIS. No doubt more needs to be done to educate the public on this system, but we just do not have the complete details on the system yet. Most of the folks against NAIS cannot be convinced of it benefit anyway.
Texas Cooperative Extension has been labeled the "hired gun" of the Texas Animal Health Commission. So let me reiterate, there are some bad things about NAIS. There are also some good things about it. At this time it is completely voluntary. Nobody knows exactly what the system will look like in the end. We are and will remain an educational agency here to provide an unbiased source of research based information. Please contact me for additional detailed factual information on NAIS. I will be happy to explain any part of the system to you in greater detail.
Hope this clears up some of the rumors out there.
County Extension Agent - Agriculture
1506 Avenue M
Hondo, TX 78861
This is the email James Ott states is a hoax!
Subject: The end of small farms and ranches
The National Animal Indentification System is a Washington D.C. idea that will make potential criminals of small farmers and ranchers. It is supposedly a "volunteer" program, but read the fine print. A kid raising rabbits for an FFA project will have to have obtain a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID $3-$20) number for each animal. Every time the animals are moved to a new location a report has to be filed. All of this is supposed to control the spread of disease. And who will pay for all this red tape. Tax payers of course and people who eat farm products - this is everyone.
Just who is exempt from this wonderful program, corporate-owned factory farms! They will need just one Group/Lot ID number to account for thousands of animals. The odd thing is they are the most at risk for disease problems.
The website below has a form that allows you to contact your senator and representative. Or you can contact them directly. John Cornyn must be contacted directly.
If you prefer a direct internet link, use the attachment, the links are hot.
Agriculture Department Imposing New Program to Drive Family Farms Out of Business
The Honorable Kay Hutchison
United States Senate
284 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510-4302
The Honorable John Cornyn
United States Senate
517 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510-4304
The Honorable John Cornyn must be contacted directly at this website. http://cornyn.senate.gov/index.asp?f=contact&lid=1
The Honorable Henry Bonilla
United States House of Representatives
2458 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC 20515-4323