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FROM: INDEPENDENT CATTLEMEN OF NEBRASKA, Box 241, Hyannis, NE 69350 Phone: 308-282-2826

Media Contact: Terry Rothwell,


Independent Cattlemen want changes to Nebraska’s Animal ID

Hyannis, NE – If animal ID is to be voluntary, there has to be a way for livestock owners to opt-out of the program, according to Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska (ICON).

In December, the USDA officially announced that the long-debated National Animal Identification System would be strictly voluntary at the Federal level.

However, complaints have arisen in several states, including Nebraska, from livestock producers who say that their premises have been registered without their knowledge, ICON spokesperson, Terry Rothwell said. “The United States Department of Agriculture has no provision for removing a premise once it has been registered.”

To clarify the situation and make the state’s program clearly voluntary, Sen. Cap Dierks, District 40, has introduced LB 632 in the Nebraska Legislature to provide for voluntary participation in NAIS and the state’s components of the program.

The bill states that the Nebraska Department of Agriculture shall develop and facilitate a process of withdrawal of premise registration, as well as safeguard confidential business information.

Recently, an official for the USDA said that department now supports an “opt-out” procedure. Andrea McNally of the USDA’s APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) told Brownfield Network that since national animal ID is strictly voluntary, producers should be allowed to stop participating at their discretion.

On the other hand, APHIS, funds have been offered to encourage states to make the program mandatory.

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture was recently awarded $672,000 in federal funding after approval of a NAIS implementation plan was developed and submitted by NE State Veterinarian Dennis Hughes. Additional state funds will be used to promote and encourage livestock owners to sign up premises.

And, a 2007 cooperative agreement between USDA and the NDA calls for full NAIS participation in Nebraska by 2009.

ICON objects to mandated animal identification.

“Our membership voted overwhelmingly against a mandatory National animal identification program and supports the existing identification system currently in place,” Rothwell went on to say, “No cost analysis has been done on NAIS and there are major technological, logistical and economic problems that still need to be addressed.”

With the 2007 legislative session in full swing, the Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska are monitoring the progress of several bills.

LB632 is scheduled for a hearing in the Agriculture Committee at 1:30 CT on Feb. 20, Nebraska State Capitol Building, Room 1524.

The Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska is a non-profit group working to represent independent cattle producers, without the influence of other industry sectors, while securing a viable livelihood for present and future generations.



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