June 15, 2004
Washington, D.C. - In response to questions and concerns raised by America's livestock producers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced it will conduct listening and educational sessions on animal identification across the country this summer.
The 14-session schedule includes a June 18 listening session from 9:30 a.m. to noon at the Athens stockyard in Athens, Ga. Livestock producers are encouraged to attend the public forum to discuss the development, structure and implementation of a national animal ID program for all livestock and poultry animals.
USDA Undersecretary Bill Hawks, Senator Saxby Chambliss and Representative Max Burns will also be in attendance. One of the questions being raised involves where a plan for animal ID would be controlled.
The National Cattlemen's Beef Association continues to be concerned that any system fully contained under the umbrella of the federal government risks producer privacy. That's why the organization continues to work through its Animal ID Commission to develop a national animal identification system that would be implemented in the private sector.
Under the private sector plan, state and federal government officials would be provided with adequate information to improve the nation's animal health surveillance systems.
The USDA listening sessions will be similar to the sessions held last summer on country-of-origin labeling.
For a complete list of listening session sites and details about each session, visit the APHIS Web site at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/lpa/issues/nais/nais.html.
The Georgia Beef Board is a non-profit organization representing the beef producers of Georgia through their $1-per-head Beef Checkoff program.