The National Animal Identification System is under fire with a recent U.S. House Appropriations committee recommending the end to funding the program. Is the program on the road to an end? Hard to say, but during a conference call on Wednesday, Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack, notes there's more work ahead.
Vilsack notes that NAIS is "work in progress and a work in process." He adds that he has indicated to farmers during listening sessions around the country that there are concerns on Capitol Hill about the effectiveness of the system. With less than 35% of premises identified, the issue is getting added attention.
"The action [on funding] by the committee shows that the concern is true," Vilsack notes. "We just extended the number of listening sessions because states requested that we hear their suggestions for improvements to the system."
USDA wants to make recommendations to improve the system, but Vilsack says there's more work to be done. "We want to give the listening sessions process its full measure of consideration," he says. "Then we will come up with a set of suggestions that would improve participations, but I can't tell you what those recommendations would be."
If a listening session is headed your way, plan on attending.