Friday, May 1, 2009

NAIS Listening Sessions

have been scheduled,
Locations and other details are being posted as they are finalized. Stakeholders may pre-register for a session here:

Thursday, May 14
Harrisburg, PA
Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center
2300 N Cameron Street
Harrisburg, PA 17110

Monday, May 18:Pasco, WA
Trac Center 6600 Burden Blvd.
Pasco, WA 99301

Wednesday, May 20
Austin, TX
Embassy Suites Hotel Austin Central
5901 N IH-35
Austin, TX 78723

Thursday, May 21
Birmingham, AL
Cahaba Grand Convention Center
3660 Grandview Parkway
Birmingham. AL 35243

Friday, May 22:
Louisville, KY
Crowne Plaza,
Louisville, Airport
830 Phillips Lane
Louisville, KY 40209

Wednesday, May 27
Storrs, CT
University of Connecticut Storrs Campus - Bishop Center
One Bishop Circle
Storrs, CT 06269

Monday, June 1
Loveland, CO - TBD

On-site registration will begin at 8 a.m. on the day of each meeting. All persons attending must register prior to the meetings. Although preregistration is not required, participants are asked to preregister by sending APHIS an e-mail at or calling 301-734-0799. In the subject line of the e-mail, indicate your name (or organization name) and the location of the meeting you plan to attend. If you wish to present public comments during one of the meetings, please include your name (or organization name) and address in the body of the message. Members of the public who are not able to attend may also submit and view comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal at<>.

For further information contact: Dr. Adam Grow, Director, Surveillance and Identification Programs, National Center for Animal Health Programs, VS, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 200, Riverdale, MD 20737; 301-734-3752.

"APHIS seeks to gather not only producer comments and concerns, but also potential or feasible solutions to create a program producers can feel comfortable supporting. The listening sessions will include information about the current program, as well as an opportunity to give public testimony or ask program-related questions. Discussion sessions related to NAIS’ cost, impact on small farmers, privacy and confidentiality, liability premises registration, animal identification and animal tracing will allow producers to provide their input on ways to make the program into something they can support."

Both are important. This is an opportunity to influence policy. Secretary Vilsack has said that he favors mandatory NAIS, but the force and magnitude of the opposition have clearly influenced him to hold off on requiring all livestock owners to register their premises, tag each animal and report every animal movement.

He asks for suggestions to resolve the opposition. I'd advise simply making it voluntary. Those who wish to participate and see value in it for them, may do so. Those who don't will not be required to. That means not imposing other onerous requirements on those who choose not to participate.

I'm encouraged that this administration is at least willing to hold off on imposing mandatory NAIS. Previously, no consideration of choice was involved.

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