With just 14.5% of the estimated 39,000 animal producers in the state registering their premise for the voluntary National Animal Identification System program thus far, the Kansas Animal Health Department has rolled out a new initiative to boost its standing.
The "Locate in 48" program encourages producers to register their premises with the KAHD, which is the first step in the NAIS program. Premises registration will help officials identify the source of a contagious animal disease within 48 hours and thus, protect animals, increase consumer confidence in the nation's food supply, better connect producers to the global marketplace and protect the $12 billion Kansas livestock industry, says George Teagarden, livestock commissioner for the KAHD.
"Since 1884, the KAHD has been responsible for controlling and eradicating infectious animal disease in Kansas. We've always used a paper trail to trace animals back to their origin. That's not good enough," Teagarden says. "It needs to be an electronic system. We need to move as quickly as the speed of commerce."
A premises is defined as the location where animals are managed or held, including farms, ranches, hobby farms, veterinary clinics, stables, livestock markets and any other location where livestock is kept. For the Locate in 48 program, livestock are considered cattle, bison, swine, sheep, goats, poultry, horses, deer, elk, llamas, alpacas, captive game birds and aquaculture.
Premises registration requires submitting simple information to the KAHD, including name, address, phone number, location of the animals and species. Producers will receive a premise identification number, which will follow the animal throughout its life.
In the event of a disease outbreak such as tuberculosis or foreign animal disease such as foot and mouth, producers can be notified within 48 hours. Had a similar program been in place when foot and mouth disease was discovered in the United Kingdom a few years ago, thousands of animals and millions of dollars, Teagarden explains.
"The United Kingdom's livestock industry was shut down for 11 months due to foot and mouth disease. We can't have that in Kansas," Teagarden says.
Bryan Rickard is KAHD's veterinarian in charge of the NAIS program, which was initiated in 2003 after a dairy cow testing positive for bovine spongiform encephalopathy was discovered in Washington state. The first phase of NAIS is premise identification, the second to individually identify each animal on a premise. The last step would be to trace individual animal movements throughout the animal's life, he says.
The end-goal of 48 hour traceback for an animal is a lofty one, but necessary. "Right now it takes about 120 days to conduct animal traceback in the U.S.," Rickard explains. "That's unacceptable."
Rickard has set a goal of having 25% of the state's premises registered by the end of the year. After establishing a similar program, producers in Nebraska have registered more than 50% of their premises.
Many agricultural organizations, including the Kansas Farm Bureau, Kansas Livestock Association, Kansas Pork Association and Kansas Dairy Herd Improvement Association, are supporting the Locate in 48 effort.
Much more information, and an online registration form, is available on the Internet at www.Kansas.LocateIn48.com. Producers may call the KAHD at 785-296-2326 or register at a local FSA office.