Feb. 1, 2007
Of course, the original set of benchmarks also included having every animal identified by January 2008, and the movements
of all animals in commerce tracked by January 2009. Knight says those goals haven't been abandoned
Jan. 25, 2007
Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), the new chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, said that he may soon push
for the program to become mandatory. “The voluntary approach is a good stepping stone in the process of achieving
a functioning animal ID system,” Peterson said. “But full participation may ultimately be necessary in order to
ensure that we have a system that meets the needs of livestock producers and the public.”
Jan. 1, 2007
Knight said that beyond premises registration, USDA intends for the NAIS to include additional premises identification
and animal tracking steps down the road. However, he stressed it would be up to producers to "decide their level of participation"
in the NAIS ultimately.
December 4, 2006
Late last month in a speech in Kansas City, MO, Chuck Conner, USDA deputy secretary, and Knight paved
the way for the agency’s change in thinking.
“Since we’ve had some confusion on this, we need to be as clear as we can be. This is
‘voluntary’ with a capital V. Not a currently voluntary, then maybe a mandatory system. This is a permanently
voluntary system at the federal level,” Conner said.
November 22, 2006
According to Dow Jones, USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Bruce Knight promised Wednesday to
keep the national animal identification system (NAIS) a permanently voluntary system. The Dow Jones article said Knight
wants to end debate over whether or not the NAIS will ever become mandatory, because that worry is only impeding progress
on implementing a voluntary system.
November 22, 2006
Knight wasn’t backing away from the plan, or the timetable, in a Nov. 22 interview with the Dow-Jones Newswire,
though. He said livestock sector concerns have only slowed down progress and the USDA is in a hurry to meet self-imposed
deadlines, but also said the goal to be able to track a diseased animal back to its source in 48 hours or less is
still on track.
November 20, 2006
“I've been taking a hard look at the program…and trying to dispel some of the misinformation,
rumor, and innuendo that’s been associated with it,” said Bruce Knight, the USDA undersecretary for marketing
and regulatory programs. "I think the most important thing for everybody to recognize is this is a voluntary program –
so that means that we need to have a program that a rancher can look at and say, ‘This is worth the extra cost
on my operation.’”
October 17, 2006 USAHA Report
Mr. Knight reiterated that Secretary Johanns
had already set challenging goals before he was appointed. These included:
1. 25% of premises registered by the end
of January, 2007
2. Critical mass number of premises enrolled
3. Finish the job and deliver on the
commitments of the USDA
Johanns rejected the idea of a mandatory country of origin (COOL) label for beef.
“Mandatory is a word that I don’t like,” stated Johanns. Johanns pointed out that
animal identification is different because it is voluntary. One week later he told a meeting of agricultural journalists in
D.C. that a mandatory national animal ID system is inevitable
Mike Johanns, Secretary of Agriculture states in the draft plan "NAIS must be implemented for our country to maintain
its reputation as having the most efficient and effective animal health surveillance and response system in the world. I
believe a fully functional animal tracking system will keep us competitive in international markets, helping us
retain and expand our market share."
March 19 2006
Johanns promised in May that the tracking system would be in place, run by the government and with mandatory participation,
The goal of 2009 has not changed, though some details have.
Under the current plan, industry participation in the NAIS is Voluntary, but Johanns said it could become mandatory if
producers and other industry groups are slow to sign on. The USDA has the authority to make the program mandatory without
new legislation, he told reporters. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns pointed out testing is not a food safety measure.
The Agriculture Department, which has spent $84.7 million to develop a tracking system,
told the Journal such a system will begin operating next year, but has decided not to make the tracking mandatory.Officials
told the Journal they dropped the idea of mandatory participation because of industry feedback, and, instead, plan to rely
on market forces to convince livestock producers to register their animals. Only if that doesn't result in adequate participation
does the agency say it would again consider making the system mandatory
Mike Johanns said the NAIS is crucial when dealing with existing disease issues, such as BSE (mad-cow disease),
and also with potential foreign animal disease outbreaks.
October 10, 2006
Regarding Animal ID, Knight insisted NAIS is a voluntary program,
and the emphasis should be on using common sense to make any NAIS workable.
“There’s a misperception out there
that it’ll become mandatory,” he said. “I want it in private hands to ensure the confidentiality
of producer data. There are only a couple of things the government needs in the event of a disease problem. I don’t
believe the government needs to know how many calves I sell each year.”
On September 19, 2006 USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Mr. Bruce Knight stated:
"Choosing NOT to participate may limit your options when it comes time to sell your herd or your flock or your
breeding stock. Choosing NOT to participate may opt you out of the export market. Choosing NOT to participate
may mean—at some point—you’ll have to hunt harder and go further to find buyers or slaughterhouses willing
to accept undocumented livestock or poultry—especially as NAIS becomes fully operational"
Sept 19, 2006 Bruce Knight
Some states may also choose to make participation mandatory. If you do, that’s okay. That’s your call, not
The debate on whether or not the national livestock identification and tracking program will eventually
become mandatory is over now that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is pledging it will be a permanently voluntary system,
Undersecretary Bruce Knight said Wednesday.
livestock sector concerns over a mandatory National Animal Identification System has only slowed down progress and the USDA
is in a hurry to meet self-imposed deadlines.