Letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack Re: Funding for National Animal Identification System

FARFA coordinated letters to Congress (read here) and USDA that were signed by 100 organizations, asking that USDA use the funds appropriated to wrap up NAIS and end the program.

November 20, 2009

The Honorable Tom Vilsack
Secretary of Agriculture
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20250

Re: Request for Limited Use of Congressionally Appropriated National Animal Identification Funds

Dear Secretary Vilsack:

We, the 100 undersigned organizations, sought to eliminate entirely all funding for the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) in the Agriculture Appropriations Bill for fiscal year 2010. We were only partially successful. However, we view Congress’ decision to severely reduce the funding for NAIS as recognition that NAIS is an ill-conceived, burdensome and badly implemented solution for achieving the national objective of improving animal disease prevention and control in the United States.

We respectfully request that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recognize the fundamental flaws in NAIS and the public opposition to the program, and not use the $5.3 million appropriated for NAIS to further advance, in any way, this program. Instead, we recommend that your agency expressly limit the use of this money in fiscal year 2010 to:

  1. Formally withdraw all pending rulemaking initiated by the agency to advance NAIS and pay the associated costs;
  2. Pay all existing contractual obligations and NAIS related costs that USDA incurred prior to September 30, 2009;
  3. Pay all costs associated with transferring the computer hardware acquired by USDA as part of NAIS to state animal health agencies, to enable state agencies to improve their ability to communicate among agencies in the event of a disease outbreak; and
  4. Pay all costs associated with providing the people of the United States and Congress with an official, comprehensive report on all of the testimony USDA received at each of the NAIS listening sessions held throughout the country in 2009.

We appreciate your consideration of these recommendations and look forward to working with you to enhance our nation’s animal disease preparedness in a manner that builds upon our past successes and respects the interests of U.S. livestock producers and consumers.

Sincerely,

Acres USA
Adopt a Farm Family
American Goat Society
American Grassfed Association
American Indian Horse Registry
American Policy Center
American Raw Milk Producers Pricing Assoc.
Arkansas Animal Producers Association
Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society
California Farmers Union
Carolina Farm Stewardship Association
Cattlemen’s Texas Longhorn Registry
Chez Panisse
Citizens for Private Property Rights (MO)
Colorado Independent CattleGrower’s Association
Community Farm Alliance (KY)
Constitutional Alliance
The Cornucopia Institute
Dakota Resource Council
Dakota Rural Action
Davis Mountain Trans Pecos Heritage Assoc. (TX)
Edible Austin
Edible San Marcos (TX)
Empire State Family Farm Alliance (NY)
Equus Survival Trust
Fair Food Matters (MI)
Family Farm Defenders
Farm Aid
Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance
Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund
Farmers Union of Adams County (ND)
Food and Water Watch
Food for Maine’s Future
Freedom 21
Gun Owners of America
Idaho Rural Council
Independent Cattlemen of Iowa
Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska
Independent-Beef Association of North Dakota
Innovative Farmers of Ohio
International Texas Longhorn Association
Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement
Kansas Cattlemen’s Association
Land Stewardship Project (MN)
Local Harvest
Maine Alternative Agriculture Association
Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Assoc.
Marshall County Citizens for Property Rights (AL)
Massachusetts Smallholders Alliance
Michigan Farmers Union
Michigan Land Trustees
Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance
Mississippi Livestock Markets Association
Missouri Rural Crisis Center
Missourians for Local Control
Monroe / LaCrosse County Farmers Union (WI)
Montana Cattlemen’s Association
Montana Farmers Union
National Association of Farm Animal Welfare
National Family Farm Coalition
National Latino Farmers & Ranchers Trade Assoc.
Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society
North Carolina Contract Poultry Growers Assoc.
Northeast Organic Farming Assoc. – Connecticut
Northeast Organic Farming Assoc. – Massachusetts
Northeast Organic Farming Assoc. – New Hampshire
Northeast Organic Farming Assoc. – New York
Northeast Organic Farming Assoc. – Vermont
Northeast Organic Farming Assoc. Interstate Council
Northern Illinois Draft Horse and Mule Assoc.
Northern New Mexico Stockman’s Association
Northern Plains Resource Council (MT)
Ohio Farmers Union
Oregon Livestock Producers Association
Oregon Rural Action
Organic Consumers Association
Organization for Competitive Markets
Ozarks Property Rights Congress (MO)
Paso Fino Horse Association
Powder River Basin Resource Council (WY)
Progressive Agriculture Organization (PA)
Property Rights Congress
R-CALF USA
Regional Farm and Food Project (NY)
Rocky Mountain Farmers Union
Secure Arkansas
Small Farmer’s Journal
Small Farms Conservancy
South Dakota Stockgrowers Association
Sovereignty International
Stop Real ID Coalition
Sustainable Food Center (TX)
Texas Landowners Council
Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
US Boer Goat Association
Virginia Independent Consumers & Farmers Assoc.
Virginia Land Rights Coalition
Western Organization of Resource Councils
Weston A Price Foundation
Wintergarden Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (TX)

For more information, contact Judith McGeary at Judith@FarmAndRanchFreedom.org