Without a doubt 4-H and the FFA is promoting NAIS. Colorado, Illinois to name a couple are forcing you to register your
livestock in order to show... Need Proof
Remarks by Bruce I. Knight, Under Secretary for
Marketing and Regulatory Programs
Cooperative Agreement Signing
June 4, 2007
Good afternoon. I’m delighted you could join us today as we sign a cooperative agreement between USDA’s
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the National FFA Organization to promote the National Animal Identification
I especially want to welcome
- Our FFA representatives—state officers from Delaware, Pennsylvania and Virginia
- Dr. Troy Justesen, Assistant Secretary for the Office of Adult Education at the Department of Education
- Dr. Larry Case, National FFA Organization CEO,
- Kent Schescke, National FFA Organization Partnership Director,
- Dr. Ron DeHaven, APHIS Administrator, and
- Dr. John Clifford, our Chief Veterinary Officer.
FFA has a long history with USDA—more than 30 years working with the Farm Service Agency as well as 10 years or more
cooperating with the Risk Management Agency and two years with NRCS. In addition, the Cooperative State Research Education
and Extension Service works with FFA through Rural Youth Grants and Rural Development supports an FFA Ag Entrepreneurship
I also want to recognize the important contributions to this agreement from Dr. David Morris and Neil Hammerschmidt of
APHIS. I understand Doug Loudenslager, FFA’s Chief Operating Officer, was also instrumental in finalizing the
Animal Disease Risks
Today, FFA is once again in the vanguard for U.S. agriculture. As you know, one of Secretary Johanns’ top priorities
is to implement a voluntary national animal identification program to speed response time when there are outbreaks of highly
contagious animal diseases. The ultimate goal is a 48-hour traceback capability.
Unfortunately, in the 21st Century, we also need to be prepared for possible acts of agroterrorism. That’s
a possibility we can’t afford to ignore. But even without terrorist acts, we face the risk of serious harm from
an outbreak of a major animal disease.
For example, in 2003, there was an outbreak of exotic Newcastle disease in California that began in two backyard poultry
flocks.(Brought in by illegally-Mexico) It took 7 months to eradicate END at a cost of nearly
$130 million in federal funds alone. There were 22 commercial premises affected along with 2,400 backyard flocks.
Nearly 3.2 million birds had to be euthanized, and more than 1,600 federal and state personnel were involved in the disease-fighting
task force. In addition, sanctions from other countries prohibiting imports of U.S. poultry cost up to $1 million per
week during the outbreak.
We could talk about other examples—the 80% loss in beef trade in 2004 following the discovery of BSE in one U.S.
cow in December 2003. (BSE brought in from Canada and that was not the only one borders are
now reopened for TRADE) That cost us more than $2 billion—just in 2004.
What about bovine tuberculosis? (It appears the TB in Cattle is on the rise again due to
open borders) Since 2002, USDA has spent about $90 million on indemnities alone for diseased or suspect cattle.
More than 28,000 cows have been destroyed over the past five years to prevent the spread of bovine TB.
Just these few examples make it very clear how costly highly contagious diseases can be and how important it is to quickly
identify the animals affected so we can cut losses, reduce delays and retain markets. Traceability is critical.
The voluntary National Animal Identification System will reduce the time it takes to trace affected animals. To make
NAIS effective, we need animal owners to take the first step and register their premises so that we can contact them should
the need arise. This is good stewardship for producers—protecting their own investment as well as helping safeguard
As of today, we have nearly 400,000 premises registered out of an estimated 1.4 million. That’s good progress—it’s
more than one-quarter of premises in the U.S. and more than double the 170,000 or so premises registered in Australia.
And it’s more than the premises registered in Canada as well. So, we’ve made a good start getting premises
registered with a voluntary program while our trading partners have implemented mandatory systems.
A number of states have worked particularly hard this year, and their registrations are surging. The top three states
so far in 2007 are Iowa, Texas and North Carolina. During the first five months of this year, these states together
have averaged about 5,500 premises each.
What if every state with 10,000 premises or more signed up an additional 5,500 premises—over the next 7 months?
Well, if 35 states—including those three—could meet that top producer benchmark, we’d have an additional
175,000 premises on the rolls by the end of the year.
One of the ways we’re looking to spread the word about the importance of premises registration is through a variety
of partners. FFA is one of those partners.
With the agreement we’re signing today, FFA has pledged to help us encourage farmers and ranchers to take that first
step and register their premises. The FFA National Organization will be developing instructional materials, conducting
outreach and signing producers up.
The youth involved in the National FFA Organization are the future of agriculture in the United States. As this Nation’s
next farmers, it’s fitting that they are at the forefront of NAIS, and we are excited about their involvement in the
Their goal is to obtain 50,000 registrations over the one-year agreement. We welcome their energy and enthusiasm,
and we’re delighted to have nearly 500,000 FFA members on our team.
We also have a cooperative agreement with the National Pork Board. Their objective
is to bring 100 percent of the commercial producers into NAIS—that’s 36,000 pork producers.
We’ll soon be signing additional agreements with other organizations. In fact, because we think these partnership
efforts will be effective in reaching producers and encouraging them to participate in NAIS, we have set aside up to $6 million
to fund similar agreements.
We all understand that the goal for NAIS first and foremost is to protect animal health.
It’s designed to help producers safeguard their flocks and herds, to protect their neighbors and to preserve their profits.
NAIS also builds confidence in the health and wholesomeness of U.S. livestock.
Further, the animal ID program
enables us to meet the international obligations we face in the world market. Having the system in place will smooth
the way for livestock exports.
As you know, there’s been significant concern about BSE around the world. But we’re making progress in
reassuring our trading partners that we have the safeguards in place to ensure that the products we sell are safe and healthful
Just two weeks ago, the OIE—the World Organization for Animal Health—awarded the U.S. a formal classification
of “controlled risk” for BSE. As Secretary Johanns put it, “That classification confirms what we have
always contended—that U.S. regulatory controls are effective and that U.S. fresh beef and beef products from cattle
of all ages can be safely traded due to our interlocking safeguards.”
The controlled risk classification is essentially an international clean bill of health for our national cattle herd.
It’s a determination based on a scientific assessment of risk using internationally agreed upon standards.
Any nation that recognizes the OIE standards now has no scientific reason to block imports of U.S. beef—of any age.
Eventually, it should put an end to the need for export verification programs.
The key is for our trading partners to adopt the OIE standards as their own standards for safe trade. And we must
do the same.
We are moving forward to expand markets and to ensure the health of U.S. herds and flocks with the voluntary NAIS.
Today, we welcome FFA as they join with us as partners to encourage farmers and ranchers to take the first step and register
Signing for FFA this afternoon is Dr. Larry Case. In addition to serving as FFA’s CEO, Dr. Case is also senior
program leader of Agricultural Education and Rural Education for the U.S. Department of Education. Dr. Case, we appreciate
your partnership, and we’re delighted to welcome you and the FFA members with you.
In order to show at any state fair via 4-H or FFA you will be required to have a Premises ID So what is Voluntary about
this??? State by state this will be implemented..What can you do? I guess Mr Knight has said it, You have a right
to choose! Choose to say NO!