Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Patty Judge is urging Iowa livestock producers to begin the process of formally identifying their farm animals for USDAâ€™s National Animal Identification System or NAIS. The Iowa Department of Ag is working with USDA on the new uniform tracking system designed to help with animal disease control and eradication efforts.
The new bio-security initiative is data based national program that will track livestock from location to location anywhere in the United States.
"With an increasing number of animal disease outbreaks around the world, there is greater awareness of the need to quickly identify the origins and whereabouts of livestock on a national level," says Judge. "While most states have some type of identification system in place, increased bio-security concerns make it imperative to formulate a uniform, national identification system. That would allow for fast trace backs of livestock in the event of an animal disease emergency."
First step is to identify premises
The first step in this new initiative starts with the Premise Identification Program or PIP. The livestock producer fills out a premise form and sends it (regular mail, e-mail or fax) to the Iowa Department of Ag in Des Moines. The farmer is then assigned a premise identification number along with a log-on name and password in order to access the information and check it for accuracy
"I encourage Iowaâ€™s livestock producers to go to our Web site, fill out the premise identification form and send it in," says Judge. "You may also call our office toll free at (888) 778-7675 to get a form or if you have questions.
"The information producers provide will improve our current animal disease control and eradication efforts and will further enhance our ability to trace and track animals that come in and go out of Iowa," she adds. "That will add to our state and national security."
Currently, this is a voluntary program
Right now, the Premise Identification Program is a voluntary program. It is done at no cost to the livestock producer.
However, USDA has set 2008 as the year the PIP program will be made mandatory and all premises will be required to be registered. "Registering now will ensure timely processing of producer information and will help producers stay ahead of the game, in helping ensure the health and welfare of our animals," says Judge.
"Being able to control a nationwide database will enhance foreign animal disease surveillance, allowing quick control and eradication in a case of foreign or domestic animal disease. The bottom line is that the NAIS will improve animal agricultureâ€™s bio-security protection," she says.
You can address any questions or concerns regarding the National Animal ID Program to Steve White, Iowaâ€™s animal ID coordinator. His phone number is (888) 778-7675 and his e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.