USDA closed the official comment period for the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) Draft Strategic Plan and the NAIS Draft Program Standards this week. The National Cattlemen's Beef Association has selected a team led by Bearing Point, Inc., as the lead technology consultant for the industry-based, animal ID program.
NCBAâ€™s Animal ID Commission has worked for some time on development of a private-sector system that would accomplish all of the animal health surveillance and trace-back objectives of the NAIS. NCBA believes that a private-sector system will fully protect confidentiality of producer information and offer value-added incentives for participation.
BearingPoint, working with ViaTrace, Microsoft and S&H Marketing, will provide information storage for the industry-led national animal identification program. More than 10 companies were considered during the initial request for information. The BearingPoint team was selected due to the groupâ€™s experience in large system integration efforts and its demonstrated understanding of producer, state and federal government needs.
While federal and state animal health authorities will be able to access relevant parts of this database for trace back in the event of a disease outbreak or animal health-related incident, the data will remain the property of the individual and stored within a multi-species consortium to maintain confidentiality.
Another top priority for the Commission was the speed with which a national animal identification system could be implemented. While USDA has announced plans to have a program in place by 2009, the Commissionâ€™s desire was to significantly expedite this timeline. As a result, the BearingPoint team is expected to Beta test the system by October 2005, and to be fully operational by January 1, 2006.
Find more information on NCBAâ€™s efforts to implement a national animal identification system at: www.beefusa.org/AnimalID.aspx.